At the February 16, 2022 Board Meeting, Vice-chair, Tucker Omohundro, talked about purchasing land that the POA has already made improvements on or invested resources in. CCI owns various tracts of land in Hot Springs Village that the POA is currently utilizing. With the purchase of this property, we will retain the current use and there also may be a potential, down the road, for the development of additional amenities. While this issue is in the beginning stages of discussion and right now we don’t have a lot of information, Board Members McLeod, and Corry also expressed some initial thoughts on the matter. Discussion included who will make the purchase decision and what funds may be used for the purchase.
Omohundro said, “Cedar Creek Trail is for sale. The community is always saying the Board should listen to Property Owners. I think this Board does that.”
The Vice-chair continued, “please understand we have had many members wanting to buy the Cedar Creek Trail. We have had many that don’t want to buy it. Some wish we had bought Cortez Beach, but don’t think we should buy this.”
“My point is, what many seem to want is for the Board to listen to them and ignore their neighbors. That’s what the Board has to deal with every day,” explained Omohundro.
Omohundro said he wants the Members to help the Board vet the Cedar Creek Trail property. He wants the input of Villagers, once more details are known. Is it worth it to the POA to purchase?
According to Omohundro, a special assessment is a way to purchase this property. Omohundro explained, “the Board has agreed to not spend the new regular assessment money on additional amenities.” Omohundro said he felt the whole Board is agreeable to that promise.
Omohundro said, “we have a lot to figure out.” Can the land be used for anything else than a trail? For example, can the land be used in 20 years’ time to build pickleball courts, or is the land-only suitable for a trail?
“There may be different ways to purchase the land. [Architectural Control Committee Chair] Janet Rowe, was talking about a possible way to get outside funding for this purchase,” explained Omohundro.
In the past, a lot of issues were decided solely by the Board – the outdoor swimming pool, DeSoto remodel and of course, Cortez Beach. The Board made decisions on those issues without much formal input from the community. “I had my opinion along with many of the Members about all these items. “Some people agree we should have a pool. Some people don’t. I have my own opinion. It doesn’t matter. We all have opinions. I don’t know if my opinion is right or another Member’s opinion was right,” stated Omohundro.
Omohundro said that making decisions of this nature should have never been made only by the Board without the majority of Property Owners agreeing.
“The Board is committed to not spending the regular assessment increase on anything but upgrading our infrastructure. We will continue that commitment going forward, I believe.” Tucker again stressed that some past projects or purchases should have been put to the Property Owners for a vote and paid for by special assessments.
Omohundro stated, “please understand, I am not talking about buying trash trucks, paving the streets, or replacing culverts. That is Staff and the Board’s responsibility.”
Omohundro said, “the Villagers need to tell us what they want to do. That’s all we’re here to do and this is a situation, when you get into purchasing things like this, it needs to be a vote. We can have a survey. If it looks like there is enough support, then we’ll do an assessment vote and you can like it or not. Vote no or vote yes. I don’t want to make this decision. I don’t think the Board wants to make the decision.”
Director Bob McLeod said, “all you’re saying Tucker, is we need a process to go through to find whether we want to do this or not. And if we do, and we think it is beneficial to the Village and it probably is, but we are not going to do it as a Board. If we decide that we want to look at this in more detail, then we need to go to the public, to all our Members and say, ‘do we as a group want to invest in the future of the Village by buying these pieces of property? We need a process to go through to do that. That’s all.”
Director Gary Belair added, “what if there was a foundation to help build these future amenities or buy that land that could be developed into a pickleball court five or ten years from now?”
Omohundro said, “I think it’s going to take an act of Congress for that to happen. It’s amazing to me that this property – let’s just throw a number out there – it’s a million dollars. It’s 78 acres. Let’s call it a million dollars. And I always use the resident Members and the nonresident Members to evaluate things. If resident Members alone pay for this, that is $120 a piece. That is our special assessment – $10 a month for a year or $120 paid upfront. That’s what we need to buy that land.”
Omohundro said, “there was another piece of land that I said we needed to buy.” Omohundro thought at one time that this land might be donated but that didn’t happen. The value of that land has almost doubled since the Director originally started looking at it. The Board did not act on that tract of land which is 25 acres and would have been good for the Village to own and develop 10 years from now. While not needing the land today, in 10 years we could use it. We have to buy the available lands while they are still available. That particular land would have cost each of the Property Owners $19 each.
Omohundro asked, “my kids, your kids, your grandkids might want to move to this Village. Are we not worried about them?” Omohundro explained that the Village population will be growing. “It is not all about me. That is the problem we have in the Village sometimes when people feel it is all about them. “Think about the people after you,” urged the Vice-chair.
Corry stated that she agreed with McLeod. “We do need a process and the Board will work on that process to determine how we want to roll it out. But the whole idea is to let Property Owners know that the Board had discussed bringing this topic up. That is all it is, a topic. We haven’t done a darn thing on it. Except right here. This is [all that has happened so far] and we’ll develop a process of some type. But it’s not anything for anyone to get in an uproar about. The people will decide if they want to have a special assessment.”
Omohundro said all Property Owners should be asked to contribute, but to what degree will need to be determined. “We need to figure out the right way to do it so everybody pays their fair share and the decision is made by the majority.”
Corry explained, “anyway [this discussion is] just in the interest of making sure people know because the Cedar Creek Trail walkers did send us emails. We’re just letting you know where we are. We, the POA, do not own that land.” Cooper Reserved Property is owned by CCI, not the POA.
Chris Jones Additional Comment
Chris Jones said he will be leaving his Board seat in April and that he has had some great comments from people and he really appreciates the support. “It’s been a wild ride for a year, but I think we made tremendous progress and [accomplished] some cool things and made some great headway. I look forward to continuing to see that from you guys going forward,” stated Jones.
Cheryl Dowden, HSV People, February 21, 2022
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02/21/2022 — 1:48 pm
If POA developed or spent POA Resources to improve CCI Properties, all that did was increase the dollar value of CCI Property that POA is now talking about buying and imposing an assessment on residents of HSV. If I lease land from Joe Doe and pay to have a building constructed on that land Joe Doe is going to say thank you very much.
Keith V. Hall
02/21/2022 — 3:29 pm
I agree with Mr. Omohundro and those who are forward thinking about the Village of the future. However, the Board of Directors has started to understand the challenges of operating like a representative form of governance when they clearly are precluded from doing so due to their fiduciary responsibilities as a board.
The board compounds the problem by stating that “many Villagers” want something, though no metrics are ever proffered.
Simply put, obtaining consensus on any topic is nearly impossible because we have no governmental form and attendant processes to do so. We are without a bottom-up, transparent, democratic process. This void creates adversarial relationships and constantly gives the impression that directors, staff, and/or a nebulous percentage of the residency are actioning items solely to their benefit.
May I suggest a more suitable process?
All wants, desires, issues, opinions must begin in committee. We routinely espouse the abilities and deep skill sets of our volunteer committees and have made them an integral part of our hybrid system, but we don’t use them to any great effect. We do not filter actions at the committee level because every resident feels themselves entitled to go directly to the board, interpreting the board as an elected representative.
Those who wish to pursue an item should do so through the representative committee. They can create a petition or other documentation which entreats resident attention to specific action. This process could easily be automated, allowing residents to electronically sign and attach their membership number, thus stating their public support for an idea at the committee level.
Once this action has reached a pre-designated threshold – some agreed to percentage of the total population – it can be referred to the board for discussion, course of action development, etc. If the publicly defined threshold is large enough, the board can then plan for a general election on the issue having detailed costs and potential liabilities.
Until such time as we fix our governmental processes, we will all continue to deal in vague reference, random opinion, and needless speculation. And I’ll admit that I am of the continuing perception that some Villagers are more equal than others and that they leverage our lack of governmental process for their interests.
I support acquisition of the CCI property commonly referred to as the Cedar Creek Trail. I agree with Mr. Omohundro that a special assessment is required to do so and that a general vote of the membership is necessary to establish the special assessment.
If acquired, I do not favor any other use of the property in the future, but am receptive to well developed plans that would make segments of the property available to the interests of all residents and visitors.
02/21/2022 — 4:33 pm
We as members would need a lot more information on this property. I am in favor of doing the due diligence and presenting to members. Starting with a survey, how many use the trail? what if it was sold to an individual? What would be the highest and best use for the property? Would it pay for itself over time? I know this is just discussion. Balboa Beach would have had my vote to purchase. No longer an option. So I like the boards making it public and asking members for input.
02/21/2022 — 8:02 pm
I agree with Walter Chance, Keith Hall, David Ellison, Tucker Omohundro and all property owners who are interested in the future of Hot Springs Village. Instead of piecemeal parcels, put all the Developers interests in one package, and put to a vote. Property Owners will decide for independence. Where would we be without the Louisiana purchase or Alaska? Representative committees are useless with voting board and staff members on them.
02/22/2022 — 10:38 am
If I may ask, who owns Balboa Beach?
02/24/2022 — 7:50 am
There were no beaches officially developed by developer I can find in the history. DeSoto Park that dead end area to lake DeSoto, where was never a “beach”, but a park area transferred as common area. Past rec department utilized that shoreline for public use and deemed it a beach. Cortez Island was not a natural lake shoreline and access to it built and developer had title to it. Used as beach by residents with word of mouth permission long ago, but not transferred to POA as common area. Cortez pavilion and little island gazebo with walk bridge that was transferred as common area. There is developer reserve behind Balboa beach area, but beach area and pavilion there was transferred as common area. However there is shared riparian rights to shoreline with the marina. Lakes if commissioned with Arkansas Fish and Game allows them to be involved in permitting of some things. Some land is natural wet land or flood plain, spillways, some shared riparian rights such as marinas. Both wet lands and riparian shorelines offers a state tax credit program in Arkansas, so it’s favorable to keep these areas as such. So Balboa beach is POA.
02/24/2022 — 9:06 am
So Cedar Creek wet land with spillway benefits CCI to leave it as such as it is in flood plain/wet land and is entitled to state tax program for wetlands protection. It is not sell able or build able and benefits to leave it alone, so absolutely no need to buy it. It’s a good place for wildlife to escape human development intrusion. They need a hiding place. Venomous snakes like water moccasins and copperheads, frogs and turtles in the peat bogs there, Texas brown tarantulas along with birds and ducks.