March 2015

HRB Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 4:00 pm.  Present were returning members Steve Cauffman (Chair), Brad Conley, Sandrine Scherson, Jan Fisher, and Barbara Taborek; newly elected members Catherine Pugel and Hobart Taylor; outgoing member Michele Walot; and ICHA representatives Andrew Herndon and Ron Reid.

 (1)     Changing of the Guard

We expressed our thanks to outgoing member Michele Walot, who has devoted many years to the betterment of the community through her service.  (We'll thank Mike McNally, too, when we see him!)   We reviewed the results of the recent election, and welcomed new members Catherine and Hobart.    We received ballots from 112 households, out of 1001 eligible households who were invited to vote.  Households could allocate up to four votes among the candidates on each ballot.  The four candidates for the four open seats included two returning members and two new members, all four of whom handily defeated the sole write-in candidate, named "Anyone Else", who garnered two votes from one household.   Steve, Sandrine, and Hobart were elected to two-year terms, and Catherine was elected to a one-year term. 

(2)      Architectural Review — Rear Fence

A proposal to replace a wrought-iron fence, which borders a paseo, with a solid PVC fence, which will be supplemented by new vegetation in the common area, was evaluated and approved. 

(3)      Architectural Review — Kitchen Expansion

A proposal for a kitchen expansion/remodel was received, along with a letter of protest from an adjoining neighbor.  HRB elected to delay voting on the proposal until receiving feedback from the applicant to determine whether the neighbor's objections could be addressed by changes to the proposed layout.

(4)      Vandalism in the Nature Preserve

ICHA contributed labor and materials to help the Biology Department repair damage to the nature preserve by neighborhood kids who built a bike jump course.  This past weekend, the repaired areas were further vandalized, and profanities were written on a newly installed sign.  If only there were some other, massive dirt pile, somewhere nearby, that was not in an environmentally sensitive area!  

(5)      Trio Celeste Concert

The plans for the upcoming chamber music performance at the U Club have been finalized, and once the musical program is set, invitations will be sent out.   

 (6)     Easter Egg Hunt

Lori Greene has recruited several able assistants to help run this year's (2nd annual) Easter Egg Hunt at the Community Center.  HRB will reimburse expenses per her proposal.   Date to be confirmed soon.

 (7)     Documentary Series

Catherine Liu has offered to organize a series of documentary screenings at the Community Center, and lead discussions.  HRB gives 7 thumbs up, and will fund refreshments.  We hope Catherine will be able to recruit film buffs who might help this grow into an ongoing series, perhaps with a documentary season, a foreign film season, etc.  This would be a great supplement to the summer movies-in-the-park, which typically feature titles suitable for young kids.

(8)      Construction Update

California Avenue road work is nearly complete.  Slabs for 25 new homes in Phase 10-2 are poured and curing.  Landscaping of the slope along Cal Ave will begin soon.  Sealing of the road surfaces on Ochoa, Rowland, and Coltrane, will occur this month.  Affected residents have been notified.  ICHA is working with the campus administration on strategies for providing additional housing for future faculty.  Such plans are in the nascent stages, but could possibly involve additional housing  in portions of the area currently occupied by Mt. Doom.  Such plans could impact Mt. Doom's availability as a totally forbidden and unsanctioned BMX obstacle course site, which we are in no uncertain terms discouraging, because we don't want anyone to get hurt.

Andrew asked, on behalf of the ICHA board, whether HRB still supports the construction of a new pool, as planned, in Phase 10, consistent with the preferences stated by residents in the amenity survey conducted two years ago.  HRB confirmed that we do, indeed, still believe that the popularity of the pools and the substantial increase in the size of the community warrants this addition. 

(9)      Request for Soccer Field Reservation

A request was received to reinstate a long-standing Sunday afternoon (4pm-6pm) soccer game that has been held for many years on the Gabrielino field.  In December, following a loud, heated, profanity-riddled  altercation between two of the players, HRB suspended the reservation, and the responsible resident agreed to relocate the game elsewhere.  A different member of the group wishes to bring the group back under his sponsorship, and was invited to present his case for reinstatement.

 The applicant joined us for a 40-minute discussion.  His proposal involves having every player sign a charter pledging to obey strict guidelines.  (No fighting, swearing, playing when the field is closed.)  He would also collect contact information to maintain better records of who is involved.

HRB members noted a number of concerns.  Use of the field for high-level competitive play impinges on the usability of surrounding areas,  including the picnic tables near the field, the sidewalks around the field, and the area near the restrooms.  Such use during a period when the park is usually teeming with activity may be inappropriate.  Profane language from this group has been an ongoing complaint, and is particularly inappropriate in close proximity to a playground.  On numerous occasions, the group has played when the fields are closed, failing to heed clearly marked signs.  Some observers have contended that there are few, if any, residents involved in the game.  While they have no proof of this, the present applicant indicated that he did not know which, if any, of the current members of the group were actually residents.   Some HRB members suggested that the Crawford fields on campus, or fields such as the one at Vista Verde school (where the group is now playing) are more suitable for the size and nature of their game.  The applicant argued that the neighborhood field should be available for him and his guests to use, if he adheres to the guidelines, and that his right to reserve it should be equivalent to anyone else's.  

Because the issues involved are numerous, including not just consideration of this request, but possibly some related policy changes regarding standing reservations of the field, HRB elected to postpone a decision, pending further discussion.  In the meantime, the applicant was encouraged to collect information on the current makeup of the group, to determine who among them are in fact residents, and to explore alternatives such as reserving a field at Crawford.   

(10)    Maintenance/Improvements

Andrew suggests installing an outdoor concrete ping-pong table at the Community Center.  We are intrigued, but concerned about the prevailing wind.   A drinking fountain and shade umbrellas are in the works for Coltrane Corner (the new pocket park).   New signage for the tennis courts also is coming soon.