Crooked River Ranch Roundup
Ranchers reach agreement on accessBy John Bowler
It's rare that Crooked River Ranch Club and Maintenance Association board meetings or workshops commence by quickly settling a contentious issue among Ranch neighbors left over from the previous meeting, but it happened Dec. 3.
The first item of the workshop agenda involved Ranch Fire Chief Tim McLaren and several residents who live on Tower Road in the northwest quadrant of the Ranch.
McLaren, who rents a house in that area, contended that egress from and access to his residence was inadequate and even hazardous at times. As fire chief, he frequently needs to respond quickly to emergency situations by vehicle and not infrequently in the middle of the night.
He requested access to Tower Road from his property, to which several neighbors objected. According to neighbors, that would involve intrusion on their property and privacy.
The issue was discussed at length at the previous board meeting without coming to any agreement. At the end of that meeting, the homeowners association board requested that McLaren meet with his adversaries and come up with a solution to present to the board at the workshop.
That's exactly what happened as reported at the workshop Monday by a neighbor couple involved in the issue. McLaren was also expected to attend the workshop and confirm his acceptance of the solution they worked out, but was evidently held up by something else, because he wasn't at last Monday's meeting.
Upon hearing the solution to the issue by all parties, Director Jim Martin moved to accept it upon affirmation in writing by the parties. The motion passed unanimously and the board moved on to the next agenda item.
The neighbors involved in the issue received compliments for giving an out-of-court settlement a whirl, and the Ranch board was praised for encouraging them to try it in the first place.
The next agenda item was also a sticky wicket with potential long-term ramifications. To summarize: A partially disabled U.S. Armed Forces veteran had finally located a Ranch rental property to live in that had sufficient outside space to accommodate his service horses and dogs that are necessary for his therapy and getting around.
The rub was the living quarters were located in the Ranch commercial zone, which has rules prohibiting animals being housed within its boundaries.
The only way those rules can be circumvented is if the Ranch HOA board grants an exception, in this case, based on hardship. The usual downside of making exceptions to existing rules is that, once granted, other people then apply for the same exceptions and raise a ruckus if their requests are denied.
The debate on this issue went on until it was decided there were too many unknown facts to make a decision during the workshop. Vice President Kit Henderson and Director Michelle DeSapio took on the assignment of researching answers and presenting them to the board with a recommendation for action at the regular monthly board meeting on Dec. 17.
Phyllis Carlin, a member of the Ranch administrative staff, has been editing and publishing the monthly Telegraph newsletter since it was revised and at an increased net profit over the previous format.
Carlin made a pitch to increase the number of pages in the newsletter from 20-24. She pointed out that adding four readable pages would not cause any increase in postage or significant production costs, while adding space for more ads as well as news. She said the result would be increased income and larger profits to the Ranch.
A motion to accept Carlin's recommendation was passed with praise for Carlin for the improved quality and readability of the newsletter under her direction, as well as a net increase in profitability.
The annual discussion of what to do with the Snack Shack concession by the pool that is open during the summer months was taken up again because of a new proposal to manage it by Sharon Tyndall, who owns and operates Crooked River Coffee from a kiosk on Southwest Clubhouse Road, next to the Desert Oasis Salon.
She is also co-chairman of the recently revived Ranch Publicity Committee with Sharon Cochran.
According to Tyndall, the board accepted her proposal to manage Crooked River Coffee in the former Snack Shack location year-round. She plans to open it there early in 2013. She also will move her Crooked River Coffee kiosk from the Ranch to Terrebonne and operate it there with added staff.
Tyndall emphasized that it has been her long-term goal to provide comfortable accommodations where Ranchers could sit down and converse when they felt the urge and enjoy a good cup of coffee and a snack at the same time.
The board then proceeded to approve: the Architectural Committee's recommended changes to commercial zone codes so they more closely resemble Jefferson County codes; a date in February for Ranch Administrator Judy LaPora to submit 2013 fees for the budget process; a proposed agenda for the Dec. 17 HOA meeting; funds for a floor in the CRR Road Department shop; three new committee volunteers; postponing consideration of sign policy recommendations to the Dec. 17 meeting.
The busy meeting adjourned at noon to have lunch and go into executive session.
HOA board survey of Ranch
Ranch property owners received their annual dues statement last week accompanied by a nine-question survey from the HOA board entitled, "What's Important to You and How Are We Doing?"
The board urges all Ranch residents to complete it and return it by mail, dropping it off at the office or emailing it.
"This is an informal survey and not a vote -- so if more than one person in a household responds, that is additional information for us to mull over," it noted. "We did not set a deadline because we were mainly interested in what people thought since we have no specific action scheduled but look to the survey responses to help inform us in our future deliberations."