HSVPOA Board Proposes Discussion of a Special Assessment to Purchase CCI Property
In an Executive Board Session on February 2, 2022, Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Board of Directors, Vice-chair, Tucker Omohundro, moved to present the topic of a special assessment. If the community decides to move forward on this issue, these additional funds would be used to purchase land from the Developer, Cooper Communities, Inc. (CCI). Director Pam Avila seconded the motion which passed unanimously.
Omohundro said, “it’s basically about future land for years down the road and the land the Cedar Creek Trail is on.” The Board has received numerous emails from concerned Villagers about this particular walking trail which is owned by CCI. In order to guarantee that this property remains in use as a trail, “our only option is to purchase it ourselves,” explained Omohundro.
Last fall the Property Owners voted to increase regular assessments beginning in January of this year (2022), which is occurring in increments over three years time. Before this recent assessment increase passed, the Board made a commitment to not spend any of the additional regular assessment money on any purchase that has not already been designated in the Seven-Year Plan.” Omohundro further explained, “of course other than emergencies. I, and I think most of the Board, believe a purchase of this nature should be voted on by the members.”
Omohundro said the process will continue at the next Regular Board Meeting on Wednesday, February 16, where this issue will be discussed.
Omohundro asked CCI to provide the Board with an inventory of CCI-owned properties and the Board hopes to receive this additional information soon.
Once more details are known, the Board would like to survey or poll the community to see if there is interest in going forward with a vote on a special assessment to be used for the purchase. Omohundro explained, “if a majority thinks this is something we should do then we will do a special assessment vote to cover the cost.”
Omohundro said that as a Board Member he would only support the purchase of the Cedar Creek Trail land if it is done with a Special Assessment. In further clarification, Mr. Omohundro said this is his opinion, but not necessarily the opinion of the Board.
Additional Information about Cedar Creek Trail
The Explore the Village website has the following description of Cedar Creek Trail:
“Cedar Creek (3.1 Mile One Way) – a beautiful wooded trail that encompasses three separate loops with a soft surface and level terrain, except for a slight incline on the Mourning Dove Path. This trail is a favorite for wildlife viewing and birdwatching and features a seasonal view of Cedar Creek. The three loops within the trail include Blue Bird Path, a 0.7 mile loop; Kingfisher Path, a 0.6 mile loop; and Cardinal Path, a 0.6 mile loop. Parking Lot A is located at 200 Minorca Road. Parking is also available on Lot B at the north end of the trail at Minorca Road and Coronado Drive across from the Coronado Baptist Church.”Cedar-Creek-Trail-Map
Cheryl Dowden, HSVPeople, February 15, 2022
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02/15/2022 — 10:18 am
Instead of a special assessment use the money we have in the reserves……isn’t that what it is for…..special and unplanned items. Do not let it get away like the Cortez Beach…
02/15/2022 — 12:03 pm
I believe your timing is off! Our POA fee’s were just raised (doubled in the next 2years) and now you want even more money to create even more spending for infrastructure as well as labor costs to develop and maintain. I really believe the board has a management problem!
02/15/2022 — 1:57 pm
Cortez Beach was sold to a private individual with nary a thought from our BOD’S or Nalley to purchase…and the price was, well…priceless! HUGE loss to our Village as it was a place of community connections for generations. The loss of the beach asset continues to be profoundly felt as a deep loss to thousands of our Property Owners and family who had it literally pulled out from under our feet! We can do without Cedar Creek…but our Village does need a beach on Coronado to replace Cortez. DeSoto beach with it’s lacking parking spaces and Porta potty does not live up to the expectations of our Villagers and their families. So…to be clear…NO SPECIAL ASSESSMENT would be my vote!! Creating a beach at Coronado could be considered infrastructure and certainly an asset for marketing HSV.
02/17/2022 — 8:46 am
That is your opinion and of course you are entitled to it. We happen to use the Cedar Creek Trail multiple times a week. It is a beautiful Trail that is more walkable than most of the others due to its fairly level terrain. I would myself prefer keeping it over another beach.
02/20/2022 — 4:15 am
Back in 1983 there was a proposal for a beach with GM and recreation committee. Some inter house memos were given in 1985 for costs of a beach at Cortez. POA went ahead with proposal creating sandy beach and permit the restroom but unfortunately the restroom had failed inspection and there was vandalism too. It continued to be used by some and 1987 deemed too high a liability and not maintained. However no official documentation was done transferring the title of land for the beach area and restroom on island, title remained CCI. This presents liability issues of use on private property owner.
(same time frame and GM as the trail proposal on the cedar creek flood plain)
02/15/2022 — 3:24 pm
Special Assessment–NO, because it will set a precedent that every time something shiny new comes along, the POA Board will lay another Special Assessment on us Villagers. As to buying that particular property, what uses does it have other than recreational? Are other buyers competing for it? It would be lovely if CCI put it into its Nature Conservancy. A significant portion of that land is likely in a flood plane. Crowd-source its purchase price or pay for it in installments, but save our Special Assessment Clause for a true emergency, not a perceived opportunity.
02/15/2022 — 4:19 pm
This BOD thinks money grows on trees and they can’t pin down where to waste it next. Double our monthly assessment and before the dust settles, ask for more. They will probably spend 30 to 40 thousand promoting it and sending out the mailings. I noticed that they did not give any idea of what the final cost would be. I hate to see them set a precedent and come back and ask for a few more million. If we hadn’t wasted all the millions on the CMP and the pool, we might have been able to salvage Cortez beach and Cedar Creek trail. We need better money management. Just saying.
02/16/2022 — 4:24 am
Cortez beach area and Cedar Creek trails were never part of the association transfer of common property, facilities and infrastructure, those were and are CCI reserve properties. Guess was ok for people to use like hike on and swim at. Board can not buy that which it can not sell, that is courses, common property, lakes, facilities that were TRANSFERRED as part of association not as in a sale of. Assessments annual or special are for maintaining and upgrading existing common property, facilities and infrastructure. I HIGHLY SUGGEST AS I WILL BE DOING TO CONTACT YOUR LAWYER AS TO EXACTLY WHAT A POA/HOA BOARD FIDUCIARY DUTY UNDER BUSINESS NON PROFIT LAW CAN DO AND NOT DO SUCH AS BUYING REAL ESTATE OR GIVING INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS, FRIENDS OR RELATIVES PROFIT MAKING CONTRACTS WITH YOUR POA DUES OR DISREGARDING ASSOCIATION GOVERNING DOCUMENTS. THAT CAN NOT BE CHANGED SOLELY BY A BOARD OR A BOARD NOT ACTING WITH CARE. LOYALTY AND ACTING IN GOOD FAITH OR BOARD OR POA/HOA EMPLOYEE DISCLOSING CONFIDENTIAL INFO ON A MEMBER WITHOUT CONSENT.
Keith V. Hall
02/15/2022 — 5:15 pm
In a rare instance, I agree with Mr. Omohundro. But you have to read on…
By majority rule vote, we accepted a new set of operating conditions. Many residents, including more than a few who post on this page, were intent to hold the board accountable for staying that course. Ergo, acquisition of the Cedar Creek Trail property requires a special assessment. Mr. Omohundro is spot on.
However, we are already discussing minutiae without benefit of any operational analysis or critical examination.
First, the timing of this discussion is suspect. So suspect that any potential vote and then acquisition of this property requires a much greater level of transparency than that afforded similar issues. I encourage each of you to take a stroll through the public tax records for the Cedar Creek Trail property or the aforementioned Cortez Beach. The tax history of Cortez Beach alone will curl your hair.
Secondly, if we are to consider this purchase, we must take emotionalism out of the acquisition equation. Despite Ms. Street’s personal connection to the former Cortez Beach, I submit that the Cedar Creek Trail system is just as beloved by its users and just as occasioned by our many visitors. Pitting amenities against one another, without benefit of any attendant competitive fiscal system, is part of what brought us to our current situation. Declaring that one thing can simply be done away with while another cannot only furthers the adversarial relationships which currently drive us.
Any of our esteemed engineers, hydrologists, land management, etc. professionals will tell you this piece of bottom land is virtually worthless from a commercial development perspective. If we are to pursue purchase, we do so knowing that we are paying the former developer for a piece of land of no particular value to him and significant value to us. In other words, he already controls the negotiation. Why? If the land has no development value, why not deed it over to us as a gesture of good will and continued partnership? We could even get the Voice out there to take pictures and laud CCI’s altruism across the net. Certainly there’s already been significant profit and the potential for much more by CCI, so why is the purchase of this particular property now at the board level?
Lastly, I do challenge Mr. Omohundro’s lead in and submit we must have far better clarity before any further discussion. We hear it all too often – “many Villagers said…”, many Villagers emailed…”, “many Villagers want…” There are never any metrics, never any names, and no supporting organizations or known civic groups. There’s just nebulous groups of people who tell board members things upon which they act. I submit that any issue not sponsored by a public civic organization, with verifiable names and an identifiable percentage of the total population, should be dead on arrival. This is the only way we will put to rest what I believe are severe personal and organizational ethics challenges.
For what it’s worth. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a relatively routine user of the Cedar Creek Trail system.
02/16/2022 — 6:28 am
Outstanding response, no emotion, just logical facts. I would appreciate knowing how to locate “The tax history of Cortez Beach alone will curl your hair”.
02/16/2022 — 8:55 am
Keith Hall–I would like to see the “tax history” of Cortez Beach you mentioned in your informative and interesting message? I drive past the Cedar Creek Trail frequently and find the parking area filled, and cars parked along Minorca, and even in the Bee Hive parking lot. I can’t imagine the area being purchased by a builder.
Chris von Aspern
02/18/2022 — 10:52 am
I like the reality of your post … having been a licensed real estate broker in Louisiana your statement is right on!
“Any of our esteemed engineers, hydrologists, land management, [real estate] etc. professionals will tell you this piece of bottom land is virtually worthless from a commercial [residential] development perspective. If we are to pursue purchase, we do so knowing that we are paying the former developer for a piece of land of no particular value to him and significant value to us. In other words, he already controls the negotiation. Why? If the land has no development value, why not deed it over to us as a gesture of good will and continued partnership?”
02/15/2022 — 5:27 pm
Would like more information on specifically what land around the trail would be included with the purchase. What are the usage numbers (how many people use it now and how often) and are there potential secondary usages of the land? How much would the special assessment cost each Villager and would it be a one time payment or a series of annual payments over years.
02/15/2022 — 5:38 pm
William, more information should be coming soon. Thanks.
02/15/2022 — 7:55 pm
I would like to know what amount of money they are talking about to buy this land? I would also like to know if the land is being taxed at the value that we would have to pay for it? If they are not being taxed at it’s true value then there is a problem with this purchase.
02/15/2022 — 8:17 pm
NO to a special assessment! Our monthly POA fees were just raised for the next two years!! Is purchasing this property REALLY so important that we have to further burden our residents who are feeling the pinch of inflation, along with increased taxes and large increases in our monthly POA fees! My vote is NO!!
02/15/2022 — 8:58 pm
In my opinion the property has next to zero commercial value and, is being used by a good number of people, myself included, as a nice walk through natural settings.
Has CCI come out and said they are about to ban people from using the trails, (doubtful), or turn it into an area to build homes, (very doubtful), so what is the reasoning behind wanting to purchase this particular piece of property??
02/15/2022 — 10:26 pm
Association board can impose restrictions as in covenants and policies, impose fines for violation of such. Collect assessments imposed annual for regular maintenance of and special for upgrading of current common properties, facilities and infrastructure. Board of non profit association has fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and act by governing documents. Board has proxy on POA elections to cast my choice in my absence, but no power of attorney durable or springing for any board to purchase real estate with any members money, you can’t without member This is a NON PROFIT you have no profit to use. Can’t impose us to pay to buy titled real estate without all 100 percent signatures entering into a sales contract and closing. Common areas, amenities, lakes, facilities and infrastructure weren’t purchased by association can not be sold by association those were part of the developers developing for use fees as member privileges to those who purchased their improved and unimproved lots. Only the reserves of the developer within here can be sold. Assessments are not for expansion that would be a for profit which property associations are not. Go take a hike and not on a trail.
PS: As for commitment board made to owners on recent assessment increase doesn’t make it a loop hole to a new self dealing money grab. I distinctly remember us home owners committing to CCI developer 2018 when that board and that GM who self appointed themselves as an unlicensed developer, threatened declaration amendments that would have affected CCI and he asked us home owners to vote no and we did. So Tucker maybe you should go ask CCI to donate that trail in return for favor. So called Cortez beach that island was never common property developer developed to this association. He let people use it but was never common property never always owned by him. When a developer develops a HOA/POA they always develop part with given common properties ie clubhouses or amenities along with roads etc only sell residential and commercial platted to individuals for title from their reserved land not an association thing to do.
02/15/2022 — 11:53 pm
Maybe the “Friends of the Village” could purchase the property and donate it to the POA?
02/16/2022 — 12:51 am
This board is pushing forward where the former leadership left off (I’ve already warned you).
1. Suspending development in certain areas.
2. A significant assessment increase over a three year period.
3. A promise to request more assessment increases after the three years.
4. A mention of changing our declarations to give future boards power to raise assessments above SCPI without a vote of property owners.
5. Now a mention of a special assessment, right after the assessment increase, which will raise your monthly assessments by, what, another $20 to $50 a month, maybe more.
All of this spearheaded in my opinion, by Tucker Omohundro. I believe, as I’ve stated before, that this board is more dangerous than the CEO and previous board.
But you go ahead and keep believing them, you will regret it.
02/16/2022 — 4:31 am
Amen Stephen and God help us from this corruption.
02/16/2022 — 6:17 am
All valid points. Additionally, Remax has been trying to sell all of the Cooper reserve properties for over 2 years. Why the sudden urgency and who’s pulling the strings? I like the trail, but the property is not suitable for anything else and warrants limited value.
02/16/2022 — 6:38 am
We don’t need a new trail. We have enough already. What we NEED is a widening of Desota Blvd. has POA set aside funds for this?
02/16/2022 — 6:59 am
Geez folks, before coming out against it, can we first find out how much it will even cost?
02/16/2022 — 7:57 am
I think “The Boards'” current focus should be on the infrastructure, i.e. streets, culvert repair, building maintenance… just a few examples which come to mind.
If we really, really, really need that trail, why not trade the Desoto Club (old Pegasus Club) to CCI for the trail. Then the pro shop gets moved down to its original location and re-create a leasable restaurant space which originally housed the 19th Hole.
Either put a volunteer pay box on this trail to collect a daily, monthly or annual fee OR
these “trailers” can add some extra $$ when annual amenities funds are collected just like for fireworks.
Just my opinion.
02/16/2022 — 12:49 pm
When the recent assessment rate increase was up for vote, I went to the POA office and asked for information about which projects or infrastructure the increased funds would go to. I was informed no such info existed. So my assumption is the money will be used without any tracking . A suggestion was made that if I could not afford to live in the village then I should move.
So here we go again. Should we raise assessments because it’s more affordable here? There should be no accountability? No transparency? Also with ownership comes responsibility. So let us raise the assessment (tax) because living here is cheaper than living a similar place in the Hamptons. This was the logic of the last election.
Why own it? Is something undesirable proposed for this land. Or does the board have something they wish to do with it. Are the many comments over the concerns about losing the beach at DeSoto? Real estate deals proposed by governing bodies should be fully transparent including what the land is to be used for along with future proposed uses. Then put to a vote.
02/16/2022 — 2:17 pm
Just what we need another amenity that will be expensive and underused, like the restaurants, and will require additional upkeep thru the years. We have 26,000+- acres and only 15,000 citizens in HSV , what we need is more people not more land.
If we want more walking trails we have plenty of scenic, unused land that can be easily converted. Buying the Cedar Creek Trail may be a good deal for the developer but a bad deal for we property owners since the land can’t be used for anything else. Shouldn’t the Board be looking at repairing our infrastructure instead of finding new ways to spend our money?
I believe the BOD could better use their time to do what was promised when they asked for a
3 timed increase of our maintenance assessments and hold off on buying “new shiny things”until all promises are kept.—Gene
Keith V. Hall
02/16/2022 — 3:28 pm
Let me combine multiple threads and respond to inquiries about tax records.
In preface however, I again assert that Mr. Omohundro is correct. He is obviously now the point man on this issue, attuned to the wants of “many Villagers.” I look forward to his further public statement.
Further, I believe we, the POA, should own the property even if it does require a special assessment. At some point, we must be allowed to finally chart our own course, rework our governmental processes, and form the real community that many believe we already are.
But again, these aren’t the true issues and the expense may not be worth the return.
Public property tax records are available to you at https://www.arcountydata.com/ The primary parcel number for Cedar Creek, excluding the piece that comes all the way to Minorca, is 001-14257-000. The total area appears to be approximately twenty acres. You can also find an interactive GIS system which will show you who owns what (You might be interested to know that the original Cedar Creek parcel included facilities directly across the street from the trailhead.)
If you’re comfortable with data collection, synthesis, and extrapolation, or you’re interested in link analysis, tax records are the place to start. Each county is somewhat different, but property ownership, dates / costs of transactions, and both the amount and status of taxes is available to the public. From this information, links and nodes between companies, organizations, and individuals are aided.
Granted, assessed property taxes have very little to do with the parcel’s value in a speculative market. The cost is ultimately determined by what the market will bear. In the case of the former Cortez Beach, the market bore a significant amount, upwards of $550K, due to the location, accessibility, and infrastructure already in place. CCI paid roughly $12.00/mo in taxes during their ownership period in case you’re wondering how that might relate to larger tax issues like the provisioning of our schools.
One could argue that this was just good business. Perhaps, but it did result in the removal of a highly treasured facility in the amenities suite as Ms. Street points out. There wasn’t so much as a public statement from the original owner, despite knowing the value of that location to the community. And coming on the heels of a highly contentious period in our hybrid governance, where the former developer chose to re-engage, and the nearly overnight listing of parcels along DeSoto, it gives one pause.
None of this is the case with Cedar Creek. While some small ridgelines might have the potential for housing development, the soil codes for the entire parcel in the tax and GIS records suggest otherwise.
Despite external assessments to the contrary, I am not opposed to profit. Developers, entrepreneurs, and businesspersons of every stripe are what drive our world. They develop capital, offer products and services, and obtain a profit for their efforts. The public is served. Good for them. Go team. Yea, America!
But when profiteers begin to leverage a closed fiscal engine without true market forces for personal or small group obscene profit, then we come to realize that we are not a community. We’re simply a cash cow for the few. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of CCI properties now magically offered for sale.
This was all tried years before. The quoted cost of the Cedar Creek parcels was astronomical; so far out of line as to make those who participated in the discussion laugh.
Lastly, CCI holdings are not nearly as great or valuable as some would have you believe. A comprehensive list of those holdings was available to the POA years ago. To believe that this is now all coincidence, driven by emails from Villagers is folly. There are many truths about HSV, but this isn’t one of them.
Again, I wish for us to own that trail system, but not at the cost of doing business with CCI and it’s internal allies, unless the property can be acquired through direct deed exchange or nominal payment.
02/16/2022 — 5:00 pm
From the date (parcel number) above, it appears that the assessed value is $1.550 with taxes $78 and change. Can this possibly be accurate? If so, even at 5 times the assessed value (100%), the cost would be less than the cost of an election. Plus, it seems to me that Cooper would be lucky to unload the property and it might even be worth him paying us to take it off his hands! What am I missing? Yes, I know I need more info and patience, but thought I’d ask.
Keith V. Hall
02/17/2022 — 8:45 am
You’re not missing anything, ma’am. Quite the contrary, you’ve used a publicly available resource to learn a truth about HSV. I commend you for that and wish that more of our contemporaries would do the same.
Again, property taxes certainly aren’t the definitive word in property acquisition. I am not a real estate agent nor real estate expert. But the tax rolls do give insight into the baseline value of the property, devoid of market forces. Simply put, and as you have seen, the bulk of the Cedar Trail parcels are virtually worthless for commercial or residential development. Thus, we have a strong negotiation posture with CCI, should there be a vote on a general assessment to acquire the parcels.
But now you have to go the next step.
Despite Ms. Posner’s unfortunate characterization of my actions, I have not trespassed. But I can read topography maps and am very comfortable with modern geospatial, GIS, and hydrology products. I can clearly determine that on the flanks of these parcels there may be enough space for pocket neighborhoods or small in volume but higher in scale development. This is likely why the former developer previously stated an unreasonable price for the entire parcel. From his perspective, everything is profit and nothing is about community development. There is a downstream profit motive for every land action in the Village.
So, the rhetorical questions remain the same –
– why has the issue come up again?
– why is it immediately at the BOD level without any discernible broad support from the community? There’s been no public statement; no prior conventional or social media comment, so who are the “many Villagers” calling for acquisition? Who do they represent? While there have been casual, off-hand comments at multiple Trails Committee meetings over the past many years, why hasn’t a concerned group of citizens presented themselves to the committee with a proposed action to garner public support and work our political process (as cumbersome as it is?) We supposedly have a bottom up process, and our committees are lauded constantly, so why is this issue outside the committee system?
– who stands to eventually profit from our potential investment?
Simply put, anything outside the process we claim to embrace has some other motive.
Keith V. Hall
02/16/2022 — 8:20 pm
Taxes on the property formerly know as Cortez Beach were $12.00 per year, not $12.00 per month.
02/16/2022 — 10:14 pm
You do realize you all on that property is trespassing.
Keith V. Hall
02/17/2022 — 6:42 am
Thank you for your note. Over more than a decade, I’ve become inured to the self-aggrandizing comments of a significant percentage on Villagers. Many revel in make sweeping proclamations without a single fact to support their claim.
Here, you have accused me of a crime; an at best trivial misdemeanor in this environment, but a crime nonetheless.
I have done no such thing, nor do I believe Ms. Moeller has. I can only believe that your inappropriate statement is the result of poor reading comprehension. More importantly, it’s time to start taking people to task here in our pretty little forest.
You will apologize to me and Ms. Moeller for your unfounded accusation.
02/20/2022 — 3:42 am
The title to the cedar creek area flood plain still belongs to CCI, word of mouth only for use was given back in 1993 to the then GM. I accused no one of a crime merely mentioning it isn’t transferred to POA land therefore not common but private property. Some POA funds helped develop trails, then HSV chapter of Audubon Society maintained it. That was 3 decades ago. Not apologizing for stating fact, I’m sorry you took it as accusation.
02/20/2022 — 3:53 am
Keith V. Hall
02/20/2022 — 11:12 am
Thank you for your counsel, Ma’am.
I will assign it the value it merits.
02/20/2022 — 4:17 am
It is a liability issue upon the private property owner
02/20/2022 — 7:08 pm
Also Cedar Creek is a flood plain and a spill way for Coronado dam. Can’t be built on and must remain, if dam breaks or over flows would flood homes in center. No fear of it being sold to anyone anyway. Like swimming walkers walk at their own risk. Stop trashing the messenger facts are with the Garland County historical society.
02/22/2022 — 6:50 am
Without signed written permission, it is trespassing, serial trespassing is more serious. Imagine the displeasure of owning property that others blatantly disregard your privacy of private property. Knowing it belongs to CCI, negates the defense of ignorance.
02/16/2022 — 3:30 pm
I remember at some early point in the selling of the dues rate increase, the promoters behind the increase, insisting that the new money will only be used for “needs, not wants!” Although this purchase would be with more new money, I think for a few years into the future, the spending philosophy and focus should be the same as then. Only needs, not wants!!!
02/16/2022 — 5:57 pm
Comments without the first and last real name are not approved. Thank you.
02/16/2022 — 6:46 pm
I have to wonder why this is being considered and why current residents may be asked to pay for it. Is this an effort to decrease or eliminate Cooper votes. Is it an effort to shed the Village of those of us on a fixed income. Should current residents be responsible for purchasing land for potential future residents. Is any assessment ever going to be a benefit to/for Villagers. Aren’t there things we need much more than Cooper’s land.
Regardless of any answer to the whys, if this goes to vote, mine will be “no”. However, I would vote “yes” to better management of our monies from the most recent increase(s). The task is simple: take care of the Village and it’s Owners. Quit asking for more. Quit spending my money.
04/24/2022 — 12:12 pm
What happens to the property if we don’t buy it? And, I’m no lawyer, but doesn’t AR have an easement law where established use of private party by non-owners over time without complaint from the private owners becomes an automatic easement for such use? In Missouri, I believe it is 10 years.