Tuesday, January 3, 2012,
University Hills Community Center

Members Present: Michele Walot (Chair), Jeff Beckwith, Lesley Danziger, Jan Fisher, Mike McNally, Sukumar Pal
Andrew Herndon, Vice President of Community Management, ICHA
Ron Reid. Community Manager, ICHA

Guests: HRB Candidates Victoire Figotin, Wendy Sanders, Julia Wan, Darryl Taylor

Victor Van Zandt, Director of Planning and Construction, ICHA

HRB Elections

HRB Elections will be held in late February or early March.  Candidates Statements will be posted on the HRB website in the next few weeks and mailed to university hills residents with voting ballots.

Introduction of HRB Candidates

Current HRB members who are up for reelection include              

Michele Walot , Jeff Beckwith and Ginny Mumm.  

The new candidates in attendance introduced themselves.

  • Darryl Taylor is a member of the Music Department has lived in University Hills for seven years. His particular interest is in fostering neighborliness in the community.
  • Victoire Figotin has lived in University Hills for nine years.  Her main  interest is in finding out how HRB runs and helping to create and organize community events.
  • Julia Wan has lived in University Hills for 17 years.  She is interested in helping to oversee the increased use of the community center.
  • Wendy Sanders has lived in University Hills for 15 years. The parent of elementary age children, she would like to represent the interests of the younger families in the community.

Members of the HRB introduced themselves to the new candidates.  

Andrew Herndon reviewed his role as ICHA’s representative to the Board.

•    Andrew noted that issues are researched and assessed as to their applicability to the Ground Sublease documents and presented to the HRB for consideration and action.

•    The goal is to work out as many issues as possible in a neighborly fashion without imposing violation notices and possible Ground Sublease default notifications.

•    As his role relates to Architectural Application reviews, his past practice has been to take any plan with issues to two board members to preview before presenting to the entire HRB.

Michele and Andrew reviewed  HRB activities.  

      The complete mission statement is available on the U Hills website at  https://uhills.org/gov/hrb/whatishrb

HRB’s goals include the following:

o    Create and organizes community events and programs

o    Function as an arbitrator- helping neighbors work out issues  

o    Facilitate communication with the community about issues that affect homeowners

o    Foster community maintenance and upkeep

Election Procedures – For the first time in a number of years, several residents are interested in running for open seats on the HRB. The following procedure will be followed:

•    All candidates interested in running will submit a candidate statement before Tuesday, February 14.  Statements will include candidate interests, experience, and why they would like to run and their address on the Hill.  

•    Candidate statements will be posted to the community website and will be mailed with ballots to the community in late February with Voting to occur in early March.

•    The board reviewed creating the option of electronic voting.  Michele will talk to the Webmaster, Nina Macdonald.

Southern California Edison Bills and Smart Meters

•    There has been significant discussion on the listserv about the increase in charges with the new smart meters.

•    Andrew said that many of the older meters were not tracking properly due to the aging of magnets use inside the old analog style meters. This may have resulted in residents being undercharged with the old meters.

•    Mike McNally suggested that the old meters were not capturing power use fluctuations. People with equipment that goes on and off may see dramatic fluctuations.  However, he suggested that if everyone’s bill is doubling,  Edison may need to lower rates

•    Community residents do have a choice whether to have the new smart meter- installed.  A postcard in the mail indicated how to opt out. The Edison web site shows how to download a yellow sticker for your meter to indicate the homeowner wants to opt out of the program.

•    Questioned as to what assistance ICHA might be able to offer, Andrew said that with Edison being a public utility, ICHA has no authority to challenge Edison and State mandates. He did note that he was advising SCE representatives interfacing on the Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration of the number of resident complaints over usage and fee variations.

•    Harry Mangalan, a resident volunteer, is researching and evaluating the problem by collecting use and fee information.  

Community Development Report:

Victor Van Zandt, Director of Planning and Construction, ICHA, presented an overview of the new construction in Area 10-1.

•    Area 10 has 30 acres remaining which should accommodate demand for several years to come.

•    Area 10-1 homes are very similar to Area 9-2 except that a single story residence has been added to the mix of homes. In a survey of prospective buyers of the new homes, 16% requested one story homes or master down units. One story homes do require generally as much land as a two story home and are smaller in square footage, thus, only five of these plan types are being constructed out of the total 49 homes.

•    Area 10 will extend out to the edge of the observatory.  The Physics Department is searching for a better observatory location and will eventually relocate the facility.

•    The first two cul-de-sacs in Area 10-1 are projected for completion in May of 2012

•    The third cul-de-sac has just been approved for start of construction and will tentatively be finished just before Thanksgiving 2012.

•    Area 10 homes are Green Point rated units (not LEED certified – too expensive). Green Point construction is what the City of Irvine is using for new construction and ICHA’s homes will exceed the minimum energy efficiency requirements.

•    A significant number of energy efficient aspects to the houses are being incorporated – water heating, roofing, house insulation, building materials, ac systems, etc. – reducing energy consumption without causing excessive expense to homeowners.

•    Solar panels are not being added due to the already high efficiency of the homes  and the added cost for new incoming junior Faculty. Additions of solar by individual homeowners will be permitted.

•    Victoire commented that the new 12 foot wide paseo constructed as part of the Area10-1 homes along Gabrielino Dr. has made it much easier for walkers and family groups to access Vista Verde School and points off campus.

Pedestrian Circulation / Shuttles

•    Lesley suggested entering into discussions with the university to provide easier continuous walking access and possibly shuttle access for university hills residents to the nearest community resources:  the university, the Albertson’s Center, and University Marketplace.

•    Mike informed the Board of a soon to be run student survey of transportation services on the campus. He suggested modeling a similar survey to determine the interest of U Hills residents in a shuttle program.

Community Development

•    Andrew reported that tree trimming will continue until the end of February. He noted that $6,000 of private work on resident properties will take place as part of encouraging residents to take advantage of the tree trimming contractors’ discount while they are working on general landscaping.

•    Vandalism in Gabrielino Park labyrinth – many of the small character and animal statuettes for children have been broken. Parents and kids are requested to report any unreasonable or suspicious activity to ICHA or the UCIPD.

•    Cigarette smoking and cigarette butts are becoming a problem in neighborhood parks, particularly the Urey Pool complex. The HRB approved ICHA’s proposal to install No Smoking signs at all pools and all parks.

•    The UCI PD has been requested to step up evening and weekend visits to the pool facilities. UCIPD has the HRB and ICHA approval to confiscate keys from people using U H facilities who are not residents.

•    Private Tennis Lesson instructions have recently resulted in use conflict and concerns. Private lessons are allowed if serving only U Hills residents, are held during non-peak use times and instructors abide by meter use and time restrictions. Any instructor not following these conditions will be banned from the U Hills courts.

•    Parking by tennis players in the bike lane on Owen Drive has been raised a possible problem. ICHA is looking into a resolve with the UCIPD.  

•    Dog Park being refurbished with new seed, pavers and other general maintenance improvements to include a new gate.

•    Still problems with dogs defecating in the parks. Residents must pick up dog poop in the interests of health and aesthetics.

Community Center Courtyard Improvement

•    The community will be asked for input on a decorative feature for the center of the courtyard.   Suggestions include: a fountain, a gas fire pit or art / sculptures.  Several board members favored the fountain.  An email will be coming to the listserv with a link to vote.

ICHA Board Meeting Report

Michele reported on the ICHA board meeting

      The main discussion at ICHA relevant to HRB and University Hills   residents surrounds the decreased demand for resales. The number and variety of houses available in the community appears to be meeting demand.

Community Center Events

•    International Women’s Day event  sponsored by an outside Russian organization.  HRB voted against free use of the Community Center for this event, on the basis that it was primarily organized by and for an outside organization. Victoire appealed against the vote.  She argued that it was too bad we don’t have more things that demonstrate the different cultures of residents in University Hills.   International Women’s Day is a big event in Russian culture.

•    Discussion ensued about helping community members present worthwhile events that are also commensurate with HRB protocol.  The Board agreed that events to promote the international diversity of our community should be encouraged, but they must meet established criteria of resident access and use to receive free use of the Community Center.

•    The Valentine’s Craft Day was very successful with as many as 50 sweethearts of all ages making cards and crafts.

•    A Concert in the Park Series is in planning and will begin April or May to continue through the spring and summer months. Volunteers and possible performers are requested to contact the HRB or Andrew.

•    Members of the community are encouraged to contact HRB members to recommend groups or individuals to perform for the series or for the Friday night social hours.  This might be a great opportunity for students and amateur musicians.

•    We need community members to work on dance or music events.  Any events the community has sponsored – like the dance classes – have been very successful.

•    A food truck night has been proposed and is under study.

•    Earth Day is planned for spring.  The day will include services such as shredding, disposal of oversize items, tree planting, mulch distribution and electric waste disposal. Mike suggested free checking of water sprinklers to reduce water runoff from resident malfunctioning sprinklers.  Irvine Ranch Water District may be able to provide a Water Usage Auditor. Lesley suggested a table focusing on composting. Residents are welcome to contact HRB with other suggestions.   

The Next HRB Meeting will take place March 6, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. in the Community Center.  All University Hills residents are welcome to attend.