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Following up on the Tesoro HOA board meeting

SCV Voices

Posted: October 4, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Updated: October 4, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Annexation was the hot topic at Tuesday night's regular meeting of the Tesoro Del Valle homeowner's association board meeting. The board made an effort to inform the homeowners why they decided to go against the vote and the poll that indicated homeowners overwhelmingly wanted to annex now into the city of Santa Clarita.

They invited the city of Santa Clarita to send a representative - to answer questions and to clear up errors in perception, if any - and they invited the county and the Sheriff's and Fire departments as well to send representatives for information only. A nice touch and a different attitude than at the informational meeting at City Hall a few weeks ago, when the board members said they would not be inviting the city to attend the meeting.

Having said that, the meeting was long and full of information that did nothing to dissuade the homeowners' desire for annexation now. The presenters said if we annex they will not go forward with new entry monuments. They said they would not go forward with raised medians on the entry streets if we proceed with annexation, and they believe the vacant land under the Edison wires will not be developed into soccer fields if we proceed. If annexation happened they would not
go forward with trails in the hills for hiking.

The presenters explained the annexation would probably stop 714 homes from being built in the undeveloped area. The city has said it would not be in favor of this many homes being built on the hills above Tesoro. The density transfer, though maybe legal, was not the deal that was agreed upon between the developer, the city and the county years ago. That is not the community present homeowners "bought into" when they purchased their homes.

"Two-hundred and 37 homes will be built above Tesoro Del Valle in the future phases of Tesoro," and if the 714 homes were not built the developer would not be providing "improvements" to our area.

All of the "fluff" items (improvements) did not hold a candle to the homeowners' desire for self government. They did not outweigh the fear of 714 homes being built above us. They did not convince the homeowners that annexation should be put off until after the developer had its way with the hillsides. The presenters repeatedly threatened the owners with withholding things - things that were not important to us - if we were to annex.

We had questions the board attempted to answer, but the main thing the audience wanted to do was complain about how the HOA board was not representing their wishes.

The board tried to make the votes cast last November - and even its own poll - not count. The reason: Because only a small amount of residents participated. But as many of us stated, the amount of the participants equals 100 percent, and of that 100 percent more than 83 percent were in favor of annexation today - today, not 10 years from now.

Some serious questions were asked and answered. With the 714 additional homes there will be more children. Is the developer going to build another school to accommodate more children? "No," was the resounding answer of the developer and its employee who sits on the HOA board.

Then what is going to happen with the extra children? They will be accommodated elsewhere, was the answer.

So it looks as if the new homes would place many children at a school not in their neighborhood, maybe displacing some of our children already attending Tesoro Elementary - not the best argument for building 714 additional homes.

The audience was concerned about a gated community being built above them that they could not access (to reach the trails that were also offered up as reasons not to annex).

Another hot issue was the use of HOA funds to send hundreds of mailers, create a website and put huge "no on annexation" banners at the entrance of our community. One resident asked if she could also put up "yes on annexation" at the entrance of Tesoro. Yes, they answered, we will see.

Some folks asked how long the developer would have a stronghold on the HOA (three members of the five-member board) and the answer was "forever." Legal, but again, not the best answer. Since the area will never be built out, the developer will always have three seats on our board. (Do not be misled, the developer has chosen a strong advocate who happens to be a homeowner. The developer appointed him and can replace him with a paid employee at anytime.)

The developer will always have three members on the board and will they will never support annexation. The rhetoric during the meeting was that someday annexation would be OK, but not now.

The developer wants to make money, of course. That is what people enter into businesses to do. But this builder knows the city of Santa Clarita would curtail it from altering the density of the area above the current homes in Tesoro. The developer wants to continue to work with the county because the county is less restrictive than Santa Clarita. I understand the developer's goals, but why has the HOA board sided with the developer instead of the homeowners?

HOA boards are supposed to reflect the homeowners' wishes. The board repeatedly said Tuesday "this is your board," but alas, it is not.

They finally admitted that though homeowners may indeed wish to annex now, "we know what is best for you." (That just gives me chills. As a government and history teacher I can think of many dictators who used the same line of reasoning.)

The board members said they will continue to block annexation until the 714 homes are approved and set in stone.

I handed out petitions to be signed for those interested in annexation now. Please feel free to contact me for petitions and or make copies of the ones you have. Please return the completed petitions to me. I can be reached at (661) 313-8960 or Linda@Storli-Koontz.com.

Linda Storli and Dennis Koontz are Tesoro residents. Their column reflects their own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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