Unnamed Source, January 20, 2020
COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN (CMP)
A Failed Experiment
This article is being pinned to the top of the website because this issue was brought up in the 4-20-20 Special Board Meeting by Director Sherman.
Through the recent past of Hot Springs Village, there may not be another document that has created the divide the CMP has. Does anyone know when or how the CMP concept was hatched? Who was behind it? Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how the CMP came to be.
THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?
- 2000 – HSV develops its first Strategic Plan.
- 2004 – Second HSV Strategic Plan is developed.
- 2010 – Nearly 40 residents and POA staff developed the third HSV Strategic Plan. It was a 10-year plan.
- 2012 – At the board retreat multiple discussions ensued around: “Master Plan”, “Land Use Plan”, “property zoned for lodging”, “comprehensive change in the Declarations”, “Master Developer”, “Cooper’s Developer rights”, “Cooper’s easement and utility rights”, “Land Use Plan”, “City Planners”, “multi-story condominium, apartments, live-work” and more.
- 2012 – The Final Budget 2013 made glowing reference to completion of the HSV 20-year Capital Improvements and Maintenance Plan.
- 2013 – Savannah Lakes Village (Another Cooper Community) introduced a Reorganization Plan containing similar concepts and wording to what we now know as our CMP. Today SLV is partnered with SLV Windfall Group, LLC.
- June 2013 – Twiggs arrives HSV and later introduces his Master Workbook. This was, in essence a scaled down version of the soon to be CMP.
- March 2015 – Twiggs presents “Town Center for Hot Springs Village” to National Town Builders Association (NTBA) conference in Little Rock.
- December 2016 – Lesley Nalley assumes position as CEO.
- July 2017 – Request for Proposal (RFP) for CMP – Discussed further below (see below for the full copy).
- September 2017 – Board approves DPZ-Crafton Tull to conduct our $500,000 CMP.
- November 2017 – Charrette process is held – ‘selling’ the CMP to Members.
- April 2018 – CMP and Protective Covenants are adopted by Board of Directors.
Strategic planning is a standard function of any organization. For a mutual benefit organization like Hot Springs Village, strategic planning is the core responsibility of the Board. The Village had such plans going back 20 years. They were always (and should be) implemented in-house by the residents and staff. But, as you can see in 2012 your Board of Directors began exploring new and radical ideas and looking outside – even when we already had a Strategic Plan (2010) and a 20-year Capital Improvements and Maintenance Plan in place.
Well, no big shakes thus far, right? Many readers, particularly if you lived here over the entire last decade experienced what was going on and might have known some of this. Those moving here in the 2015 to 2017 time frame; maybe not so much. But did anyone suspect that the decisions regarding the CMP implementation were already pre-determined – as far back as 2012? Probably not. It seems a fair conclusion that long before the 2017 Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued, and regardless of what the community as a whole might actually want, this program was going forward – with or without property owner approval.
In fact, it was going forward at the same time that Board and Management knew full well that Declaration changes would be needed for implementation. That’s why they not only approved the CMP but they also tried to bully the Membership into approving 12 critical changes to our Declarations and Articles of Incorporation in 2018. A vote which unanimously FAILED.
THE REST OF THE STORY!
In August 2016 it was announced that outgoing COO/GM Twiggs would be relinquishing the reins to CEO Nalley. The announcement reads, in part:
“This new appointment comes as the Village transitions into phase two of its master plan for strategic growth and innovative development. Under Twiggs’ leadership, Hot Springs Village has spent the past three years creating a new master development plan that will encompass a variety of lifestyles utilizing the existing 26,000 acres within the community. Twiggs will continue to serve as a development consultant to Nalley and the Village Board for the first half of 2017. . . . The Hot Springs Village governance team, at the direction of David Twiggs, has been creating a new master plan. . . .”
WHAT? How could this be? The timeline indicates it wasn’t adopted by the Board until April 2018. Had any such thing even been discussed in open Board meetings? Yes, no, maybe. This is all very confusing.
Let’s go back to the July 2017 timeframe. That month actually marks the date when the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the CMP was due back to the POA. The following are some choice excerpts from that RFP (copy attached for your reference):
- “. . . inviting planning and design teams with expertise in Town Center Design, Commercial and Residential Infill, New Development Land Use Planning, Neighborhood and Economic Development Planning and Traffic and Transportation Planning. . .”
- “. . . seeking Proposals from firms for the purpose of preparing a Comprehensive Master Plan for Hot Springs Village, with specific emphasis on a new town center, new pocket neighborhoods, transportation, signage, and creating an individual character for 9 distinct villages. . . “
- “The plan should move the community focus from maintenance to successional development. . . “
- “. . . multifamily and mixed use development planning.”
- “. . . housing gaps such as missing middle and pocket neighborhood developments.”
- “. . . mixed-use town center that could serve as the community’s core anchor. . .”
- “Develop a series of goals and objectives that support the Master Plan.”
- “An urban design and Town Center. . .”
- “Zoning and/or other policy recommendations to support the proposed land use/development plans.”
For those not familiar with such proposals the foregoing are what’s known as ‘The Deliverables’ of the RFP or the “Desired Outcomes“. And, this RFP with further wording “A general land use plan that reflects the developmental goals” is what the HSV Board approved. The Board approved this RFP and the Half Million Dollar expense knowing full well that the Declarations would have to be altered to allow such a Plan to be implemented. They also knew this would also mean taking away the Declarant Rights of the original Developer. They knew that such a Plan would require a Member Vote to change those Declarations. But, they didn’t tell you that, did they?
Would the majority of the Members actually approve of such a plan ahead of time knowing it was going to change the very landscape of why most lived here? Can any of what the CMP is based on work if the gates have to come down to support these commercial developments? It appears then that we have all been duped and used.
So, as Paul Harvey used to say, “now you know the rest of the story”.
CONCLUSION AND OPINION
One problem here is basic intellectual dishonesty. Moving forward with a Plan which is known to be impossible to implement from its inception is just wrong. Even worse, with regard to the RFP it is one thing to ask a consultant to solve a problem such as lack of growth or revenue. It is quite another to require them to justify a desired outcome, i.e., town center, etc.
You decide. The property owners are the organization. Not some group of self-ordained dictators that get to decide for the Members. Who were they? Just go back and see who was on the Board during the years highlighted. The Board’s job is to protect the interests of the property owners, NOT to carry out the plans of an ideology that won’t work in rural Arkansas.
As property owners and Members of the Property Owner Association, you have a right to the information that your elected leaders are operating under. Go do the research yourself and demand that you be given back control of the environment you live in and pay for.
Note: Edited to clear up confusion over the relationship between SLV and SL.