July  2015 HRB Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 3:55pm.  HRB members Steve Cauffman, Barbara Taborek, Catherine Pugel, Hobart Taylor, and Brad Conley were present.  ICHA representative Ron Reid was present.  Two residents attended the first part of the meeting, to discuss concerns about behavior of an instructor on the tennis courts.

Ongoing Efforts:

·         The park survey is still open at https://uhills.org/news/2015/06/2015-uhills-park-survey.  We were going to close it, but a few people submitted invitation code requests, and the ICHA person who has the codes is on vacation, so we'll keep it open until those requests can be fulfilled.

·         The Blossom 50% discount offer has resulted in 53 orders, so far.  Residents interested in upgrading their sprinkler controller to a web-enabled smartphone-controlled weather-wise controller can still order one for $100 (normally $200) at https://uhills.org/news/2015/06/university-hills-blossom-smart-irrigation-controller-discount-program.  Free installation assistance is available to those who need it, for a limited time.

·         HRB is working to organize a bulk-discount toilet replacement program.  We are currently negotiating prices and options with several plumbers.  Toilets older than 15 years are probably 3.5 gallons per flush, compared to the current standard of 1.28 gpf.  Toilets account for about 25% of indoor household water use, generally.   socalwatersmart.com is offering $150 rebates on eligible toilets.   (Before rebates, toilet replacements typically run $400-$600.)

Community Events:

The first movie night of the summer was "Wall-E" on June 26.  Thank you, Girl Scouts, for serving up popcorn!

Upcoming Movies in the Park:

·         July 18 (Saturday) — Monty Python & the Holy Grail (PG)  [not appropriate for younger kids]

·         Aug 14 (Friday) — Star Wars (PG) + campout

·         Sept 18 (Friday) — TBD (should be G!)

 A resident has enquired about organizing a food-truck night.  HRB is supportive of a test run, and seeking additional details.

Mail Theft & Lockable Mailboxes

Neighbors have expressed concern on the listserv regarding mail theft, and have raised questions about availability of more secure methods of receiving mail.  The condos, and some newer houses, have secure mailbox clusters, known as CBUs (Cluster Box Units).  The post office has mandated the use of CBUs, rather than individual street-side boxes, for new construction, because it makes delivery more efficient.  The post office will not approve changes from street-side boxes to receptacles mounted on homes, or slots in doors, because this would slow down delivery.  Except for CBUs, individual mailboxes belong to the homeowner.  Maintenance and upgrades are the homeowner's responsibility.  Posts that hold multiple mailboxes are the shared responsibility of the homeowners whose boxes are on the post.  Homeowners should be able to replace their mailboxes with different models (such as lockable ones), provided they meet USPS standards, but such changes do still require HRB approval, as with any other architectural modification.    HRB is researching several product options that might be "pre-approved" without the need for formal application and review.  We have requested feedback from the local postmaster on several options.  If approved, details will be presented to the community.  Proposals by entire cul-de-sacs to transition to CBUs (requiring coordination between the residents, ICHA, and the post office) will be considered on a case by case basis.  [7/15/15 Update: The Irvine Postmaster says individual lockable mailboxes are not allowed, even if they meet USPS standards, because some packages would no longer fit, thereby changing their "mode of delivery".  This may be regulatory over-reach by the local PO, but if homeowners choose to replace their individual mailboxes, they do so at their own risk, and may incur the wrath of local postmaster.

Tennis Court Altercation

HRB received complaints regarding an argument between a resident and a tennis instructor holding a lesson on the UHills tennis courts.  The resident filed a complaint with the police (the details of which we choose not to publicize).  The instructor denied the allegations and claimed the resident was at fault.  HRB reviewed all of the information submitted by all involved parties, the police report, and a history of previous complaints.  Without passing judgment on whether the specific allegations were true or not, or whether the instructor was unfairly provoked, HRB concluded that his repeated inability to defuse arguments, rather than escalate them, left the HRB with no choice but to withdraw support for the continued operation of his business at neighborhood facilities.  The latest incident occurred despite previous admonitions about the responsibility of instructors to be courteous and respectful to all other residents on the courts, even in the face of seemingly unreasonable requests. As mentors who are expected to set a good example for their young students, and as paid professionals who have been granted the privilege of conducting business at our neighborhood facilities, instructors are, simply put, held to a higher standard.  The HRB had explained these expectations to this instructor, in person, at its September, 2014 meeting.   We are told he is a popular coach, and regret the inconvenience that his students will need to travel elsewhere for their lessons with him, but find this necessary to avoid further continuation of a pattern of heated arguments with residents.   Consequently, HRB voted in favor of a motion to recommend to ICHA that "Due to multiple complaints about unprofessional and abusive behavior, [the instructor]'s teaching privileges on the University Hills tennis courts should be suspended.  He shall be eligible to apply for reinstatement after one year."   This recommendation has been conveyed to ICHA, which has the final say in the matter, so it will not go into effect unless and until ICHA concurs and notifies the instructor to that effect. 


·         A resident was asked to trim rose bushes blocking the sidewalk on Twain St.  The bushes have been trimmed.

·         A complaint was received about a barking dog left outside for extended periods on Owen.  The complaining party has been rebuffed by the dog owner, has filed a complaint with the police, and is documenting the ongoing nuisance.  HRB will helpfully suggest available anti-barking solutions to the dog owner.

·         A complaint was received about a storage shed installed next to a sidewalk by a homeowner on Mistral.  The shed will need to be relocated.  

·         Several sections of the Gabrielino Pool fence have been vandalized, leaving gaps large enough for children to squeeze through.  ICHA is facilitating repair, but specialized welding equipment is required.

·         There seems to be a general impression, anecdotally, that the proliferation of unauthorized pool keys has reached unprecedented levels.  The locks have never been re-keyed.  ICHA has been considering transitioning to an electronic fob system, for several years.  (This would be a major expense, requiring electrical service and network access at all gates.)