May 2017 Newsletter
Message From the President

Notarized…Really?
Yes, really. With the announcement for the proposed amendment to our Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), everyone was surprised to learn that their consent forms needed to be signed before a notary public.  That “everyone” included your board of directors!
 
While the CC&Rs do not specifically mention “notary”, the arcane language in our document does make it a requirement.  In short, since our CC&Rs are “recorded” with the county, signatures to an amendment must be “recorded” as well.  And, in the common law of the land, this means the forms must be signed before a notary.
 
In case you think our attorneys are wrong or we are being arbitrary on this process, read this: Recently, a neighboring association offered an amendment to their CC&Rs and did not require that the signatures on the consent forms be notarized.  The amendment passed, their board acted on the amendment and their association was promptly sued.  So far, their association has spent well over ten thousands of dollars defending its actions.

So, why is passage of this amendment vitally important? The original CC&Rs are critically out-of-touch with today’s realities. Contrary to what some people think, your board has very little power.  Your board does not want any new powers.  Instead, it wants homeowners to be able to conveniently participate in the decision making process. 

The board can conduct studies and make proposals for changes to our rules or propose expenditures, but, only the homeowners can approve such actions. This is the way it always has been and the way it will continue to be.
 
With passage of this amendment, homeowners will have the ability to make their voices heard without the burden of antiquated language.

-Aletha Kalish, President

Editor’s Note:
The key paragraph in the Consent Form mailed to all homeowners defines how future amendments will be acted upon:
 
“This Declaration may be amended at any time by the affirmative vote of Owners of a majority of the Lots, casting one vote per Lot.  Any amendment to this Declaration shall be evidenced by a written document signed by the President and Secretary of the Association, attesting that the requisite number of Owners approved such amendment.  The Amendment shall become effective upon recordation with the Pima County Recorder’s Office.”
 
This subtle change means that the Owner’s signatures do not have to be notarized after this amendment is approved.  It is important to remember that this amendment must be approved under our current rules: all names on the property title must be signed in the presence of a notary.  
Committee Reports & Information

Your Architectural Control Committee
Greetings Fellow Homeowners!  With this and subsequent newsletters we hope to help unravel some of the mysteries of your Architectural Control Committee (ACC).
 
To begin at the beginning, the board authorized the creation of the ACC to act on its behalf to work with homeowners in complying with our CC&Rs.  The committee must be composed of at least three members and its chair must be a member of the board.  Your current committee members are Bob Newcomb, Nicole Perez, Greg Piraino and Frank Karnauskas, Chair.
 
The primary task of the committee is to ensure that the external design and location of all structures are “in harmony” in relation to surrounding structures and topography.
 
How does that happen?
The CC&Rs provide clear-cut restrictions on some matters such as utility posts and wires, antennas, basketball hoops, and temporary structures.  Sometimes restrictions in our rules are overruled by state law. The best example is our flat-out prohibition against rooftop plumbing, heating and cooling equipment.  For solar power, state law overrides that all-encompassing restriction, but it does give HOAs some say in where and how such equipment is installed.
 
And, in many cases, the CC&Rs only provide guidance by using such terms as “reasonable” or “in harmony with”.  This is a two-edged sword.  We have some latitude to prevent the neighborhood from looking like so many of the modern cookie-cutter developments that are devouring our countryside. But, we are sometimes forced to draw the line when a proposed addition or paint scheme is clearly out of character with the neighborhood.
 
Next issue, we’ll review the application process and how we try to help homeowners along with their new projects.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact the ACC with your questions or comments at ACC.Chair@FoothillsClusters.com  
 
Sign-up for the HOA Email Service!

For many years now, the Nextdoor site has been an invaluable tool for all of us to keep in touch and to help foster a sense of neighborhood in the Foothills Clusters. 

We know that some homeowners are not comfortable with the Nextdoor site for privacy reasons or they do not want to receive the “back fence” chatter that comes with it.

The board is trying hard to improve communications and participation between the HOA and the homeowners.  While we have the email addresses of a few homeowners who receive their newsletter electronically, we want to reach more homeowners with specific HOA news and notices.

Thus, we have created a private, strictly managed database for this purpose.  While we encourage everyone to continue to use Nextdoor for social topics, we are asking everyone to register for our private email service.  Our private email service will be used only for official HOA business:  newsletters, meeting schedules and occasional surveys.

Please take a moment to register for our private email service at www.foothillsclusters.com.  The registration link is right on the home page

Calling All Members Who Don’t Have Time to Serve on the Board But Have a Desire to Help the HOA with a Small Project  

Many neighbors have told the Board that although they are not able to make the time commitment necessary to serve on the Board, they would be willing to help on small projects. 

The board could really use some help with the onerous task of getting signatures notarized on the Lot Owner Consent Form to amend the CC&Rs.  If you would be willing to call the neighbors you know on your street (or if you live on a long street, maybe just the neighbors who live close by) and arrange a convenient time when they could all get together for 10 or 15 minutes to sign the Consent Form, and then email the time to Pat Tapke at fhchoa.secretary@gmail.com, I would be happy to come with my Notary Public seal and notarize signatures.  There is no charge for this. I work weekdays from 8 to 5 so evenings and weekends are best for me, but I can be flexible. Please note that you would not be expected to ‘sell’ the idea of amending the CC&Rs.  If a neighbor says they are not interested in signing the consent form, you simply tell them that’s fine and thank them for their time.  So if you could make a few phone calls and help facilitate this effort, it would be greatly appreciated.
 
-Pat Tapke, Secretary

What should you do when you meet a coyote?   

The question comes up once in a while about what one should do when encountering a coyote while out walking along our roads. Should we be frightened? Should we run? Should we try to befriend it? Should we allow it to quietly walk past us while we take pictures?
 
As much as many of us appreciate sharing the neighborhood with the natural animal inhabitants around us, when it comes to coyotes, it would be fine to passively watch them from a distance, but if they’re in close proximity and aware of you the best thing to do is SCARE THEM WAY!
 
As unkind as this sounds, it is the best thing for the coyote. We are not their natural enemies, but since we’re bigger than they, they’re instinct is to keep their distance from us. Nor are we their food, so they have no interest in attacking us. They’re normally timid around humans, but if they lose their natural fear of us, they can become a danger. The literature describes an increase in coyote bites and attacks in populated areas, but suggests that the majority of these are cases where people had fed them or where the animals just became complacent around humans. When coyotes (or any other animal) start becoming a problem for humans, it is the animal that loses out, often being relocated (or euthanized), but relocation often results in the animal’s death.

For a more authoritative presentation, see the brochure, “ Living With Coyotes” published by the Arizona Game & Fish Dept
 
In this brochure, the G&F Dept tells us that we, “must aggressively discourage coyotes from feeling comfortable around [humans] by never intentionally feeding coyotes, eliminating attractants (food sources, including pet food) from your yard, using aggressive gestures toward coyotes when you see them, and encouraging your neighbors to do the same.”
 
What happens if we simply run away from them? Running away from predatory animals is never a good idea, often triggering their chase instinct. It’s a good idea to pick up small children to keep them from running if they’re scared.
 
The basic point is to be dominant, keep eye contact, and scare the coyote away.
 
And THEN take pictures and appreciate their beauty.
 
- Bob Newcomb

 RATS!  We’ve got RATS!  

Every property in the Foothills Clusters is constantly being visited by pack rats.  Their digging and climbing capabilities make physical exclusion of the rats by wall or fence impossible.  We each must decide if we’d prefer the rats to simply pass us by, or establish a base of operations on our property.  When making this decision, it is important to consider the following:
  • Pack rats reach maturity in about 2 months and can reproduce every 2 months.  If you have one rat, you are soon likely to have many more.
  • The rats are solitary, so each new rat will want to quickly establish its own home.  Places they find to be very inviting include car engines, pool and spa pumps and heaters, air conditioning units, and in and under houses and sheds.
  • The rats do not respect property lines, so your rats’ young will likely become your neighbor’s problem.  
  • Pack rats must constantly chew.  They find home and automotive electrical wires, insulation, irrigation tubing, and many landscape plants irresistible. 
  • The rat nests harbor kissing bugs, brown spiders, and scorpions, and will attract rattlesnakes.
  • Pack rats themselves are known to carry diseases and viruses.  
Suburban developments allow for very high density of rat populations while minimizing good predator habitat.  If you do not wish to harbor rats, you should:
  • Carefully walk your entire property to identify rat activity.  
  • Look for middens (piles of twigs, stones, cactus pieces, mesquite pods, etc.) under cacti and agaves, around rock piles and walls, and in the aforementioned places.  
  • Consider removal of the rats and middens.  DO NOT USE POISON.  A rat killed by poison is then likely to be eaten by another animal that will also be killed.  Live trapping in a cage and then elimination of the rat is the preferred method.  
  • Wear a surgical respiratory mask when removing middens or working in rat infested areas.  
  • Trim landscape plants appropriately to preclude their use as nesting sites.  
  • Seal AC units, pool equipment, and vent openings with ¼” hardware cloth.
  • Please note that lights and scented sprays are not guaranteed to repel rats.  Their urgent need to find a home will likely outweigh any such inconveniences.  
- Submitted by a neighbor.

Please contact the Board with any questions or if you need help locating/identifying rat middens on your property.

Future Board Meeting Dates & Times
  • May 1, 2017           6:30 pm
  • June 5, 2017          6:30 pm
  • July 3, 2017            6:30 pm
  • August 7, 2017       6:30 pm
The May meeting will be held at CFHS House #1 Seminar Room

The June, July, and August meetings will be held at Village Inn located at 6251 N. Oracle Road
PLEASE NOTE THE DIFFERENT LOCATION!
 
Email Addresses Please!
 
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
 
PLEASE WRITE TO US!! If you have something on your mind that you want addressed, or if you have a question for the board or the newsletter editor, please write to:

Newsletter
FCHOA
PO Box 64569
Tucson, AZ  85728
 
Or email us with “Newsletter” in the subject at fhchoa.board@gmail.com