Maintenance Plan

WHY DO WE NEED A MAINTENANCE PLAN?

Nothing lasts forever, but we can extend the useful life of Elevado Road by funding regular maintenance.  Doing nothing means the Road will deteriorate again to the point where major repairs, greater than those performed in 2018, will be required.

In 2017 we learned that raising the funds all at once was a challenge for some residents. Many residents expressed their preference that we stretch out the payments over a number of years with easily affordable annual payments to help with their family planning and budgeting. If we wait until all the money is needed (again) there is no guarantee that it can be raised quickly and, more importantly, we may not have the volunteer resources on hand to repeat our success in 2017-18.

We also need a plan for dealing with routine problems, such as minor damage caused by routine wear and tear.  Spot repairs are a fact of life and we can no longer rely on Bernie Hentges to fill potholes in his spare time. We need to keep a reasonable amount of money on hand to take care of little problems before they become big problems.

Finally, the condition of the Road affects our property values.  Although we cannot prove definitively how much of a difference it makes, we are aware of a number of properties that, after sitting on the market for many months, sold soon after we completed repairs. A dilapidated road is an eyesore and negatively affects the value of our investments. Having a maintenance plan means owners and buyers know we have our act together and our responsibility is being met.

 

WHY WEREN'T THE 2017-18 REPAIRS ENOUGH?

They were!  For now.  But we need to plan for the future and not always have to play "catch up".  In addition, there are always spot repairs and emergencies.  Once everyone stops paying attention - stuff happens.

Just as importantly, we need to put a permanent management system in place, one that professionally coordinates all of our road "user communities":  owners, brokers, insurers, contractors, delivery services, trash collectors, utilities and developers, to name just a few.  This includes periodic inspections, invoicing and collecting, notices of liability for contributions to brokers, buyers and sellers, obtaining insurance (if available), notices of claims for road damage or improper repairs, and communication with developers.  These services require a modest management fee so we won't have to rely on volunteer time - which may not always be available.

 

HOW WAS THIS PLAN CREATED?

Once we completed the major repairs in 2018, the same volunteers who "Saved Elevado Road" began discussions about how to "Preserve Elevado Road" and prevent the road from deteriorating again. While it would be nice to believe this was a one-time effort, all roads need regular maintenance.

The volunteer team reviewed their research and experience from the 2017-18 project, and returned to the industry standards they used to develop the construction "Requests For Proposal" that we used to negotiate our paving contracts.  The consensus of professionals and civic managers alike, is that some topcoat along with isolated repair and replacement of the underlying asphalt, should be performed every 5 to 7 years.

It is now 2019, and the existing work is one year old.  So far, so good.  Using a five-year contribution cycle, we will have enough funds on hand for major repairs by 2024, which is six years from the last repair.  A five-year cycle means every property owner will be asked to contribute 20% of the amount they paid in 2017, every year for the next five years, plus an administrative fee of $45 a year to cover third party management expenses.

A spreadsheet showing the amount owed by each property owner per year has been posted to the Library.  The average annual payment per property is less than $200 per year, with the lowest payment about $63 and the highest being about $393.  Everyone living on Camino Cantera, and between Camino Cantera and Vista Grande, will pay less than $200 a year.

This plan recognizes that the actual repair costs should be spread proportionately among the property owners, just as we did in 2017, based on the distance of road they enjoy using, while the administrative fee should be shared equally because all property owners benefit equally from having the road professionally managed.

We firmly believe it is much easier to pay - and collect - these modest amounts each year then wait until another crisis catches up with us. This is the most affordable plan possible that provides a reasonable solution for managing and maintaining our common easement.

 

WHAT WORK AND SERVICES ARE COVERED?

Within the funds available, road repair and maintenance, together with professional management by a third-party management company will be provided.  Examples of repair and maintenance include filling of potholes, repairing of cracks, repairing and resurfacing of roadbeds, repairing and maintaining drainage structures, removing debris, maintaining signs, markers, striping, and any other work reasonably necessary or proper to repair and preserve the easement.

The management services will include regular inspections, processing complaints and requests for service, providing information to brokers and escrow agents concerning owners' accounts, opening and operating custodial bank accounts and handling of funds, providing management reports, supervising repair of road damage by owners and third parties (e.g. trash collectors, utility companies, delivery services, contractors and developers), billing, collecting, and claims management.

In addition, the funds may be used to obtain liability insurance to cover claims by third parties against the Association for accidents on Elevado Road.  Earlier this year we received an affordable quote for this coverage and, provided it is still available and there are sufficient funds on hand, we believe this will be a valuable benefit.  The funds will also be used for retaining a tax accountant and completing other legal formalities appropriate for a permanent organization, including reimbursement of third-party expenses such as postage, stationery, and for web site and email platform fees. The Association's volunteers will not receive any compensation for their time and professional services.

 

WHY SHOULD I PAY NOW FOR FUTURE MAINTENANCE?

Cal. Civ. Code §845 states that funds can be collected "before, during or after performance of the maintenance work".  We believe it is more practical and reasonable to have a maintenance program in place that everyone can understand and budget in advance.  This will avoid delays and the substantial effort required if we wait until the funds are all needed at once. Funds are also needed on an ongoing basis to pay for management services and emergency repairs.

 

WHO WILL BE HANDLING OUR MONEY?

Until we hire a Property Manager we are still using the same structure we had for the 2017 project.  The Save Elevado Road project is fortunate to have three residents, including the CEO of Pacific Marine Credit Union, who have assumed responsibility as custodians for the deposit account, without compensation. The funds are in a segregated account at Frontwave Credit Union (formerly Pacific Marine).

For more info about the account custodians, see: http://elevado.info/about/

The terms for maintaining the existing custodial account are spelled out here: CLICK HERE TO VIEW

After we hire a Property Manager, all payments, when collected, will be deposited in a segregated, general fund in trust for the benefit of all Owners, and will not be co-mingled with those belonging to any other parties. All interest earned on the funds, if any, shall be retained for the Association's use.  The terms for handling the funds are spelled out here: CLICK HERE TO VIEW

 

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF FIVE YEARS?

At the end of each five-year cycle we will reassess our needs and the level of repairs required. Over time, if our reserves exceed our requirements, we will consider skipping one or more years of contributions, but only if we have enough funds on hand.  The goal is to collect and keep sufficient reserves without running out before the funds are needed.

 

HOW DO I KNOW YOU WILL NOT WASTE MONEY COLLECTED BEFORE IT IS NEEDED?

Everyone involved in the program is contributing to the fund, some much more than most others.  We have every interest in economizing and managing your (and our) money prudently.

 

ARE ALL PROPERTY OWNERS OBLIGATED TO PAY?

YES.  Elevado Road is a private, nonpublic road. Its entire length consists solely of a chain of easements across the front of each property facing Elevado, from the very end to the very beginning.  Each property Owner has a right under their deed to use this easement to access their property.  In return for this right of use, each Owner also has the responsibility under the law to contribute to its repair and maintenance (See Cal. Civ. Code §845) It is not free.

 

WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY A MANAGEMENT FEE?

If you are asking this question it means you did not participate in the volunteer effort during 2017-18 which lasted over a year to plan, market, collect contributions, handle custodial accounts, manage community communications, solicit construction bids, draft contracts, supervise contractors' performance, settle their invoices and legally enforce our rights against a small number of nonpaying property owners.  We are pleased by the amazing success, but now we need to institutionalize these efforts by putting professional management in place so we can devote more time to our families, businesses and our own properties. Nothing happens by itself.

 

HOW MUCH WILL THE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM COST ME?

The amount each Owner is expected to contribute is set forth on the spreadsheet posted in the Library, under "Address Table / Cost Allocation." Each Owners’ contribution is listed by his or her address.

 

HOW WERE THE COST SHARES DETERMINED?

We used the same formula that everyone accepted in 2017:

  • The amount of each contribution is determined mathematically by dividing the length of Elevado road used by each Owner by the total of all distances used by each of the 182 residential owners. The remaining vacant lots in Panoramic are included, and will also pay half shares. If you live on a side road, your use of Elevado Road is determined by the distance from the beginning of your side road to Vista Grande.
  • We then spread the cost over five years by multiplying the amount by 20%, for each year.
  • Finally each property pays a management fee of $45 per year.

 

I’M PLANNING ON MOVING SOON – WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY?

In 2017-18 we heard that a few times, yet many of those same owners are still here.  The answer is that you should tell your broker and the escrow agent when you sell.  Your broker should ask for a credit in your contract and the escrow agent can verify the amount you have pre-paid with our management company.  Your buyer should then reimburse you at closing for the amount in your account.

 

DOES EVERYONE PAY THE SAME AMOUNT?

No. Each Owner’s share is determined by (1) the length of Elevado Road they use to get to their property, plus (2) the management fee of $45 per year.

 

WHY CAN'T EVERYONE JUST PAY THE SAME SHARE?

Legally (see Cal. Civ. Code §845), Property Owners are not obligated to contribute to any portion of the Road over which they have no easement. Allocating responsibility for repair costs proportionately, based on comparative distance, is the most equitable solution that is both transparent and easily applied. Furthermore, why should someone on Aloha (at the beginning of Elevado Road) pay six times more than someone on Flametree (at the end of Elevado Road), particularly when they use only a fraction of the road?  The proposal for equal shares is one of the reasons this project failed 15 years ago, and is why the current plan is based on the length of Elevado Road used to access each Owner's property.  Just ask someone on Grandview if they should pay more so someone on La Loma Serena can pay less.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER VACANT PROPERTIES THAT ARE NOT ON THE 2017 SPREADSHEET?

In 2017-18, after we finished collecting from the existing residents and Panoramic property owners, we then invoiced and eventually collected the amounts owed by all of the absentee vacant lot owners, including those owned by the three water districts (who paid full shares). We intend to follow the same procedure by enforcing the maintenance obligations.

 

ISN'T THIS PLAN EXPENSIVE?

Think so?  Compare our plan to the County's solution known as Permanent Road Developments ("PRD").  As an example, in a 2018 proposal for a community located in Valley Center, the County proposed a revised maintenance plan for an existing PRD that cost an average of $1,700 per year, per parcel, for the next nine years. Significantly, this was not a newly created County PRD, but an old one that had been in existence and managed by the County itself since year 2000.  One has to ask how a road already managed by the County still needed this level of expense!

 

Our experience has demonstrated that a privately managed road maintenance program is the most cost-effective solution for "Preserving Elevado Road".  As neighbors we have a shared interest in managing the cost we all share while providing a well maintained road for year round, all-weather access to our homes that supports our property values.

 

ARE WE BECOMING A HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION (HOA)?

No.  This is a single purpose program for managing our obligation to repair and maintain Elevado Road.  It is not our intention to create any "common spaces" or rules that govern our properties.  Many people chose to move here because they did not want to live in a regulated environment.

 

HOW WILL THE MANAGEMENT COMPANY BE CHOSEN?

We solicited proposals from two organizations with relevant experience, and invited the manager we determined has the most experience with private road management to help us develop this program. We are currently negotiating a contract which will be published for comment first before we enter into any agreement.  During that comment period, any management company with relevant qualifications will be free to make a competitive bid. After the comment period is closed, we will then make a final selection.  We will make announcements at each stage of this process.

 

ARE ANY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD VOLUNTEERS BEING COMPENSATED FOR THEIR TIME?

No.

 

ARE ANY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD VOLUNTEERS MAKING ANY MONEY FROM THIS PROGRAM?

No.

 

BUT, BUT, BUT ……..?

One thing we learned in 2017-18, with over 200 property owners, there is no perfect solution that everyone likes, particularly if they hope to do nothing and make it their neighbors' problem.  However, once you accept the road is everyone's responsibility, and no one is going to take care of it for us - for free - the only answer is a community-sponsored program.

When you hear "But" the first question you should ask is "Have you read through this site"?  Another thing we learned is that those who complain the most (just a few) know the least. Please encourage all of your neighbors to read this material and, if they still have questions, contact us.

Until 2017 no one stepped forward with a better plan, or at least one that was adequate, fair and universally adopted.  Now we have one.  Let's solve this problem together.

 

I WOULD LIKE TO HELP.  HOW DO I VOLUNTEER?

Come to one of our community meetings or complete our contact form and let us know what your interests are.  One of the volunteers will get in touch with you ASAP.

 

Next Steps

OK, WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?

You have a choice.  You can sign a simple Pledge Agreement or, if you prefer a more formal agreement, you can sign the Road Maintenance Agreement (or "RMA").  You can mail it, drop it off at the address stated at the bottom of the Pledge, or send an email to bernie@elevado.info and we'll arrange for one of our volunteers to pick it up.

 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PLEDGE?

By signing the Pledge you agree to make the payment for your property on the address table. Before we begin signing contracts with management companies, hiring accountants, buying insurance and completing other legal formalities for a permanent organization, we need to know your commitment.   We are not asking for payment at this time.

 

WHY CAN'T I JUST WRITE A CHECK?

This is a multi-year commitment.  Unless you want to write a check covering all of your payments for each of the next five years, we believe the pledge is the simplest approach.  After we hire our management company, they will send you an invoice for the first year's payment.  We want the collections to be managed by them and not by the volunteers.

 

HOW LONG IS THE PLEDGE GOOD FOR?

After the first annual payment, you can terminate it before the next payment is due.  However, even if you terminate the Pledge, you are still responsible for your share of contributions for repair and maintenance in accordance with §845.

 

WHAT IF I DON'T SIGN THE PLEDGE?

After a majority of residents accept this plan, you will receive an invoice for the amount you owe in accordance with §845. If you are one of the very few who ignore the invoice, you may be compelled to pay, with interest, most likely in a manner and at a time that will be more inconvenient than simply making the annual payments under the pledge. In 2018 we brought a successful action in Superior Court against the few property owners who refused to pay.  The Judgment included interest and all costs of collection, in some cases almost a $1,000 more than was originally owed.

 

 

Road Maintenance Agreement

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE ROAD MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT?

Rather than sign a simple Pledge, some property owners want a formal agreement which defines their rights and responsibilities.

 

ARE SUCH AGREEMENTS LEGALLY BINDING?

Yes.  Cal Civ. Code §845 specifically recognizes the use of these agreements to define property owners' obligations.

 

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF SIGNING THE AGREEMENT?

There are several.  First, it provides a more complete description of your obligation.  Second, you gain the right to vote for the Association's Directors to manage your contributions (or serve as a Director yourself!).  Third, depending on availability, property owners who sign a written agreement may be eligible for liability coverage under an insurance policy issued to the Association for Elevado Road-related claims.

 

WHO DOES THIS AGREEMENT APPLY TO?

The Agreement applies only to the parties who actually sign them, no one else.  When you sell your property the new owner will also have the option to sign this agreement.

 

DO I HAVE TO SIGN THE ROAD MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT?

No. It is purely voluntary.

 

WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE HAVE TO SIGN?

There is no legal requirement for an existing property owner to sign the RMA.  The only legal obligation is to pay.  Some tract developments have CC&Rs that include a mandatory agreement when the development is formed, but in that case the owner is required to accept the agreement as a condition for purchasing their property.  However, if you have already purchased your property, you cannot be forced to sign such an agreement.

 

ARE THE OWNERS WHO DO NOT SIGN STILL OBLIGATED TO PAY?

Yes.  All Owners who have easements to Elevado Road are obligated to pay their contributions for its repair and maintenance.  In 2017-18 we collected the contributions from every property owner with easements to Elevado even though there was no common road maintenance agreement.

 

HOW WAS THIS AGREEMENT CREATED?

After reviewing numerous similar agreements, we reread all of the resident correspondence and complaints that had been exchanged when a more formal agreement was circulated by a handful of residents in 2002-03.  Due to those objections, less than 10 individuals signed the original proposal.

With the help of a resident attorney, we removed most of the objectionable provisions, simplified the language, and created a voluntary agreement.  The draft agreement was reviewed several times by one of our volunteer committees, and then circulated for comment among other residents who expressed an interest in having such an agreement.  Finally, we will post the agreement on the web for 30 days to allow time for everyone interested in this RMA to provide feedback.

After all comments have been reviewed, and the RMA is finalized, we will notify those parties interested in signing to send it to us.

 

WHY ARE YOU OFFERING THIS AGREEMENT AS AN OPTION?

Over the years some residents have expressed an interest in having such an agreement.  Over time, as other residents become more familiar with this program, they may also wish to sign. We believe the best approach is to offer it now, and let people decide at their own pace and in their own time.  In the meantime, until they are comfortable with this RMA, we ask that they sign the Pledge so we can complete our program for "Preserving Elevado Road".

 

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? Email bernie@elevado.info.