ACC Q&A

  

Q: What were the results of the recent poll regarding the future of LSMCA’s architectural control responsibilities? 

A: The result of the voting was as follows: 800 ballots were sent out and only 269 ballots were returned (a return rate of 34 percent).  Of the 269 votes, 170 voted in favor of paying an annual fee to have LSMCA continued to provide architectural enforcement (note that 170 is only 21 percent of the 800 voters we asked). Meanwhile, 99 votes of the 255 votes cast, favored passing the responsibility of enforcement to the homeowners (12 percent of the 800 homeowners we asked).  


Q: Has the LSMCA Board decided what to do? 

A: Yes. Regretfully we have concluded that we must surrender our responsibility for enforcement of the CC&Rs to the individual homeowners. Several factors led us to this conclusion. First, given the results of the poll (addressed above), the LSMCA Board concluded that we simply do not have enough support from the community of 800 to collect the annual operating fee we proposed. Put another way, 170 homeowners told us they were willing to pay the annual fee. What about the other 630 homeowners? How could we effectively collect the annual fee from those who did not vote in favor of levying that fee against themselves? It seemed to us a pretty high hurdle. In addition, the Board was concerned that homeowners’ expectations for enforcement and the true ability of the LSMCA ACC (Architectural Control Committee) to enforce decisions may not be aligned. When paying an additional fee for enforcement services, homeowners are likely to have expectations of strong enforcement up to and including litigation to defend decisions. However, LSMCA ACC lacks the legal latitude to do more than issue letters to homeowners perceived to be in violation of the CCRs. No fine structure exists and because of the insurance crisis, the ACC would be averse to litigation. 

For many years, the ACC has focused intently on maintaining the “curb appeal” of the Lake San Marcos community. We believe this objective is still paramount. The Board spent considerable time reviewing all the input from residents at our public meeting, residents who have approached us personally, and even the back and forth discussions on Nextdoor. However, our limited enforcement capability coupled with the challenges of paying for insurance suggest LSMCA is no longer the best way to try preserve the appeal of our community. In the end, we have decided that the only viable solution is to transfer the responsibilities for enforcement and maintenance of “curb appeal” to the individual homeowners.  


Q: How do I know if I’m affected? 

A:  About 800 homes are affected. These homes are located primarily around the large St. Mark golf course and the Lake, and include the Malls as well as much of the Highlands area. Owners of these homes were notified of their involvement in late January. If you are unsure if you’re affected, please contact the LSMCA office at either office@lsmca.com or 760-744-4306.  A map of LSM is available at the bottom of this page. While not 100% accurate in all details, it shows, in red, approximately which homes are affected.


Q: What does the decision to transfer of enforcement to homeowners mean to me? 

A:  If you are not already, we would encourage you to become familiar with your CC&Rs. As individual homeowners, you will now be responsible for enforcing your CC&Rs. For example, if a neighbor in your tract decides to make a modification to his home that you feel violates the CC&Rs, it will be up to you (and perhaps other neighbors) to try to enforce those covenants. Your efforts would likely begin with appealing to and perhaps negotiating with the homeowner. But you may have to pursue litigation to achieve enforcement. 

After the transfer, if you are a homeowner who wishes to modify your home, you will no longer be required to submit an architectural request to LSMCA. 


Q: Will LSMCA be involved in architectural control and enforcement in the future? 

A: No. 


Q: What about the suggestion that the LSMCA ACC act as an advisory resource for homeowner enforcement of CCRs?

A: Even if we acted in an advisory capacity, LSMCA would still be subject to potential litigation and therefore would need to maintain insurance coverage. It is unlikely that the cost of that coverage would differ from what we face today. 


Q: Will the LSMCA continue to provide other services to the community?
A: Yes, will continue to offer all of the other services we currently provide.  We are also researching additional services that we may offer for your $48.00 annual membership fee. 


Q: When will the transfer to homeowners occur? 

A: We are working with our legal counsel to finalize a plan of action to be completed as soon as practical. 


Q: If I am an impacted homeowner, do I need to do anything?

A: Review your CC&Rs to become well-versed in what is and is not allowed in your tract. 


Q: After the transfer, will my CC&Rs still be in place? How might they change?

A: Yes. Your CC&Rs will remain intact with the exception that LSMCA will no longer be responsible for providing architectural enforcement of those CC&Rs. That responsibility will transfer to you and the other homeowners in your tract. 


Q. How can we as homeowners enforce CC&Rs? 

A. When you read and understand the CC&Rs, the language will help you to understand what is allowed and what would be a problem. 

As for enforcement, the better the relationship you have with your neighbors, the better the chance that you can work out issues that arise that are based in the CC&Rs. The ACC’s architectural change application asks for signatures of neighbors, and in many cases the process of getting those signatures involves compromise. The same situation will exist without the ACC – neighbors talking with neighbors to work things out.


Q: Creating a Home Owners Association (HOA) may be a way for the affected homeowners to obtain architectural enforcement, Can LSMCA help establish an HOA? 

A: No. LSMCA is not qualified nor capable of providing that expertise. Interested homeowners should consult experienced HOA management companies for advice. 


Q: What happens if we don’t enforce the CC&Rs?

A: When rules intended to protect home values and area attractiveness are not enforced, the changes that don’t comply will accumulate. As violations are allowed, some won’t matter, but those that depreciate the “Curb Appeal” of surrounding homes and an area will likely show up in lower home sale values. 


Final Note:

We didn’t want this to happen. The LSMCA has enjoyed providing architectural oversight to homeowners in the Lake San Marcos area. Looking around the community, we feel we have been successful. We view the people here as friends and will try to continue to be of service in any way we can that doesn’t put the residents or the LSMCA team in jeopardy. 

We hope the information presented above is helpful.  If we could have continued to support the area without the huge risk and cost associated, we would have not made this change. If you feel there are questions that have not been covered, please take the time to contact us at office@lsmca.com so we can respond.