The April 1st meeting was called to order at 4:10pm. Present were Steve Cauffman, Sandrine Scherson, Michele Walot, Mike McNally, Barbara Taborek, Brad Conley, and Andrew Herndon.

Steve Cauffman introduced a new HRB volunteer, Brad Conley, who was unanimously appointed to fill one of the two vacant seats on the board.  

Home Valuation

In response to some discussion on the listserv about the valuation of home improvements, Kathy Windsor, ICHA Director of Sales and Marketing, joined the meeting to explain the process.  The Maximum Resale Price (MRP) is computed based on calculated appreciation, plus the appraised value of improvements, but does not specifically consider basic upkeep of the home. The challenge has been to provide incentive for basic maintenance and updating of appliances, as well as improvements and additions to homes, while maintaining affordability for subsequent buyers. She explained that the current average price of resale homes is $228/sq.ft., with the range this fiscal year from $166-248. This is about half that of neighboring developments on the open market.

There are three appraisers used by ICHA to assess the valuations of home improvements when calculating the MRP. They use a variety of methods to calculate the current value of any improvements. By the time the house is on the market, remodeling, taken as a whole, often yields around a 50% reimbursement rate.  ICHA has assembled an informational packet which includes an explanation of the valuation process, as well as examples of appraisals for homes that have been remodeled.  Residents considering improvements are encouraged to request this information from ICHA.

Anecdotally, there have been examples of appraisers granting a 100% valuation of the cost of room additions made to a smaller home.  A homeowner who “over improved” received an MRP increase of 60% of the improvement cost from the appraiser, but ultimately wasn’t able to realize that amount, because the buyer’s bank considered sales of similar homes in UH for the loan appraisal, and refused to lend for the calculated MRP amount.  Eventually, the homeowner received about a 50% return on the improvements.

Homeowners are encouraged to speak with ICHA before planning any extensive remodel, and are required to submit plans for architectural review for any improvements that result in changes to the exterior of the home. 

Improvement valuations and calculation of the MRP are made at the time of sale.  Contrary to assertions made during discussion on the neighborhood listserv, this policy has not changed or evolved.  A known consequence of this is that improvements are not subject to the appreciation formula used to calculate the MRP until those improvements are valued at time of sale and wrapped into the purchase price for the next owner.

Summer Swimming Lessons by UCI Recreation

Swimming lessons for University Hills will be at the Urey Pool, MWF 7/14 to7/25. Montessori will have lessons on Tues/Thurs mornings from 7/15 to 8/21. Recreation Center swim teachers will offer private lessons, to UHills residents only, in the afternoons, before 3pm.

Listserv Archives Privacy Settings

The listserv archives allow subscribers to peruse old postings.  Access to the archives (including attachments) now requires subscribers to enter their listserv credentials (email address and password) once per session.  When the archive settings were changed from public to private, links to attachments in older archived messages became invalid, but new attachments are readily accessible going forward (and old ones can be accessed by manually correcting the attachment file URL).   Subscribers are reminded that email should not be considered a secure form of communication, and, even if the archives are visible only to subscribers, messages may nevertheless be forwarded beyond the intended audience.  

Electronic Voting and Polling

Steve Cauffman, Nina Macdonald and Andrew Herndon met prior to the HRB meeting, to discuss how to implement electronic voting and polling for future HRB elections and surveys.  Different methods of ensuring maximum participation, efficiency, and anonymity were discussed.  ICHA maintains a database of resident contact information for official communications, which could be used, since voting and resident surveys fall into this category.  Steve Cauffman will follow up with Victor Van Zandt about technical details involved.  This is entirely separate from the neighborhood listserv, which is a high-traffic tool used for direct communication among residents who subscribe to it (approximately 800 addresses).

Upcoming Events

The April Concert, Trio Celeste, on Friday, April 18th, will be announced using the listserv, the “What’s Happening” banners, and sandwich boards at UHills entrances.

The Easter Egg Hunt on April 13th has eight confirmed volunteers who plan to use 1600 eggs for children 9 and under.  Andrew offered to bring refreshments.

Summer Movie Night film choices were discussed.  For kids, Frozen, Lego Movie, Brave and Up were mentioned as front-runners.  Andrew mentioned that the popular kid titles are often reserved well in advance.  He will contact the City to determine which titles are available for the planned dates. 

Tree Trimming

Tree trimming extended past the planned March 1st end date. A resident complained that bird nests were being disturbed.  Andrew explained that every effort is made to avoid harm and to perform trimming before the start of nesting season.  The Pine trees are on a 3-year schedule and the Eucalyptus are on a 2-year schedule.  An additional crew may be added next time to accelerate the process.  Andrew also provided an update on ongoing efforts to safely relocate a large beehive hanging high above a walking path.

Stop Signs on California Ave

ICHA is considering removing the stop sign at Whistler, and replacing it with one at Owen, to coincide with a planned pedestrian crosswalk.  Visibility of traffic when pulling out of Whistler is limited, but could be improved by trimming vegetation appropriately.  HRB has noted that the relocation of the sign from Whistler to Owen would result in a string of even more closely-spaced signs (Owen, Mistral, Gabrielino, Twain).  Since sight lines from Mistral are good in both directions, it was suggested that adding a sign and crosswalk at Owen would be more palatable if the signs at both Whistler and Mistral (on either side of Owen) were removed.  Many varied and emphatic opinions about the sign at Twain were also expressed.  Some think sight lines from Twain are ok in both directions.  Others think visibility to the left is poor, given the prevailing speed of traffic along California between Anteater and Twain.  There is general agreement that the overall number of signs seems too high.  It seems prudent to consider incremental changes to gradually reduce the number, rather than make changes everywhere all at once.  The replacement of the Mistral and Whistler signs with one at Owen could be a step in the right direction.  It is strongly recommended that community members be notified and given the opportunity to voice their opinions before such changes are carried out.

Dog Bag Dispensers

We appear to need more.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:00pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Taborek