November 25, 2007

CPDC Response & VG East Update

After receiving the Board Advisory Groups recommendations,  Homer Tompkins, President of CPDC, responded positively and included a status update for Victor Gardens East.  The Board Advisory Group looks forward to working with CPDC, Community Development Inc, and the City of Hugo to address these and other neighborhood issues.

Mr Tompkins email is reprinted below:

“Thank you for this email explaining the efforts the advisory board is making.  I think it’s a great start.  The one comment made in Paragraph 3 about a “robust Architectural Review Committee” will be in place leads me to believe that you’re thinking the Board or the residents will in someway have something to do with the Architectural Review Committee?  The ARC Committee is a declarant responsibility and runs with the declarant until all lots are sold. Unless the residents buy all the lots, this responsibility will run with whom ever buys the lots but our protection is the Architectural Guidelines that are part of our PUD agreement with the City which requires that the declarant review all plans in accordance with these guidelines and the City can assist in making sure this happens. 


As an update, we have now presented 4 buyers to M & I to purchase the assets in VG East who understand the ARC responsibilities and HOA shortfall issues.  We have one more buyer to present then all offers will be received by the Bank on the 26th or before and the Bank hopes to make their decision on which buyer by the end of the week.   Most if not all will want us to oversee the ARC process as some investors are passive and not active developers.  M & I is comfortable with the buyers and will not consider any more offers than these 5 candidates.  Beginning shortly, M & I will post a “sheriff sale notice” of the 29 lots in VG East per the voluntary foreclosure agreement we have with them.  Don’t be alarmed by seeing this notice, it’s a requirement by law and does not effect the business decisions of those interested in buying the 29 lots.  We’re making good progress in replacing CPDC with a financially stable company to continue the vision of Victor Gardens and I will continue to keep you updated on our progress. “ - Homer Tompkins

Neighbors Make Recommendations to the Board

Homeowners serving on the Board Advisory Group recently met to discuss a variety of neighborhood issues.  One of the most important things to come from the meeting was a short list of recommendations to Victor Gardens’ Board of Directors.  Below are excerpts of a November 15 letter sent to Board members and our Association’s management company, Community Development, Inc.

The Board Advisory Group also recommends a collaborative effort - increasing the level of homeowner, developer, and city involvement in solutions to our common problems.

Dear Members of the Board of Directors, and Community Management Inc.,


The Board Advisory Group met last Friday to discuss a few of our V.G. Community Association's challenges.  The group has recommended two items for the Board's consideration, and one request from the City of Hugo for their advice and expertise.


Item 1:  Cost saving measures for the current fiscal year

A. Many of the VG Community Association's expenses have already been spent or recorded as debts for this fiscal year (landscaping, pool maintenance, annual plantings, etc.).  It seems that there isn't much more that can be trimmed from this fiscal year's budget except snowplowing expenses.

B. Saving money on snowplowing: It's very important that the Association receive "apples to apples" bids from multiple snowplowing contractors.  

C. Saving money on snowplowing: Bid requests should be structured in a way to save as much as possible.  Consider raising snow "trigger depths", frequency of service, reduce non-essential areas to be plowed, etc.

D. Holiday Lighting:  Eliminate Holiday Lighting entirely from this year's budget.  As unpleasant as this is, eliminating lighting installation expenses and utility charges will save money.  Hopefully next year the Association will be in better financial shape and VG's retail businesses may be interested in participating.


Item 2:  Plan next fiscal year's budget conservatively and request participation by builders.

A. The Board Advisory Group urges the Board to not authorize more spending that what is actually coming into the Association's accounts.

B. Request that Ryland Homes, Pratt Homes, David Bernard, etc. participate directly in funding the Association's amenities.  These builders are currently marketing our neighborhood with its current amenities  (pool,snowplowing,activity center,etc.).  Those amenities may not be sustainable without "outside" help or contributions by the developer. 

C. The Association must plan for a lean year, but be flexible enough to update the budget if M&I bank, CPDC, Ryland, Pratt, etc. can contribute financially.


Item 3:  Request help from the City of Hugo

A.  Until the Association can pay down it's debts (including the City of Hugo), plan for future spending, and assure residents that a robust Architectural Review Committee will be in place, the Board Advisory Group seeks the help, advice, and cooperation of City officials, and the developer, and builders.

B.  Discuss the possibility of accelerating the turn-over of the Association to homeowner control.

Holiday Party - Sunday December 2

Please plan to swing by the Victor Garden's Activity Center any time between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 2nd for the Victor Gardens Holiday Party!  Santa will be available for photos with kids and holiday refreshments & snacks will be served.  

Many thanks in advance to Nicky Erickson for heading up this event with the help of Rita Groneberg and Shawn Pade.

No need to RSVP or bring anything.  We hope to see everyone there! 

Gables Association Newsletter 2007

The Gables Association, one of Victor Gardens townhomes associations has released a letter for its residents and owners.  Thanks to Charles Kirk, the President of the Gables Association for sharing this with all of us.  The newsletter, along with other documents, minutes, etc. is posted on the Gables Association’s website:

Please click the following link for the 2007 Gables Association Newsletter

Dear Gables Resident, 
The Board would like to take this opportunity to give you a quick update about your homeowners' association. Please read all of the following as there are important matters for the Board to convey at this time. 
Gables Association Update: 
*  Financial Health:  We are pleased to report that our Gables townhome association is in excellent health. Earlier this year, the Board hired an outside audit and review of our financials which confirmed that the association is in solid financial shape. 
*  Cost Cutting Efforts:  While facing uncertain economic times and problems in the housing market, the Board has made extensive efforts to limit and reduce our expenditures as much as possible while keeping the association in good shape. Rising costs and unpaid dues within the association have caused us to adopt a very conservative approach toward our spending. 
*  New Landscape Company: The Board made extensive efforts this year to find a new firm to serve the association. After a lengthy bidding and review process, a new landscape company was hired recently. The Board is optimistic that the new provider will provide a higher quality service at a more competitive price. 
*  Landscaping Issues:  The Board is aware and concerned about the appearance of the association and will be taking extensive efforts in the coming year with the new landscape provider to make some improvements. For example, the major flowerbeds in the association will be redone next Spring and we are looking forward to these 
Master Association Update: 
As a Gables resident, part of your monthly dues goes to the Master Association whose primary responsibilities are the upkeep and maintenance of the parks within Victor Gardens as well as the Activities Center and Pool. The Master Association has a separate Board from your Gables’ townhome association. These two associations are entirely separate from each other and have completely separate budgets and responsibilities. In addition, while your Board is comprised entirely of residents and has its own budget, the Master Association's board is comprisedprimarily of members of CPDC or Community Property Development Corporation. As residents we have absolutely no control over what the Master Association does regarding their budget or expenses. As some of you are already aware, CPDC is in financial trouble due to declining housing market. After defaulting on several of their bank loans this year, CPDC is in the process of reorganizing and refinancing their debt. Because of this, CPDC HAS NOT MADE 
ANY FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS to the Master Association in 2007. While those developer contributions are not required by law or by contract, developers like CPDC often provide substantial financial support for many years to associations BEFORE full their full buildout or completion. This is done not so much out of benevolence, but so that residents can enjoy the full benefits of the association prior to the full development and so the developer can sell the remaining property at a higher price due to the benefits of the association. 
Financial strain at CPDC and very poor housing market conditions have created a problematic situation forresidents at Victor Gardens because the development is far from completion. At last review, the Master Association has accumulated a large amount of debt (approximately $60,000) and has depleted the majority of the financial reserves. Please keep in mind that the decisions to spend money and to go into debt in this manner were entirely CPDC’s decisions, not residents’ or your townhome association's Board. Without a major change in either ownership or control of the remaining property and developer contributions, the Master Association will be unable to function. Fortunately, a group of concerned residents has formed an advisory committee to work with both the CPDC and the City of Hugo & Washington County to find a solution to this problem. Regrettably, as your Board, we must inform you that all residents at Victor Gardens will likely face substantially higher Master association dues and/or special assessments in the coming year. Currently, $20 of your monthly dues goes directly to the Master Association. In addition, services the Master Association has paid for in the past (like holiday lighting, for example) will not be provided because there is no money to pay for those services. Looking ahead, it is also entirely possible that the Master Association may not be able to open the pool next year and/or reduce or eliminate most if not all of their services. 
The Gable's Board is aware of the situation and is monitoring it closely. All residents are invited to keep on top of these developments as they occur by visiting the Master Association's website - Victor Gardens News at For those who may be interested, opportunities to participate in advisory committees are available and your input is welcome and highly encouraged. There will be future meetings to discuss these issues more in detail in the future, so please visit that site often to stay on top with the latest developments as they occur. 
*  Board Meetings:  All residents are welcome to attend our Board meetings. They are 
held every other month at the Activities Center. Dates for upcoming board meetings this 
year are the following - so please mark your calendars! 
7PM on Wednesday, December 19, 2007*  GABLES ANNUAL MEETING 
7PM on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 
7PM on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 
7PM on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 
7PM on Wednesday, August 20, 2008
7PM on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 
7PM on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 
* Improved Communications:  To improve communication throughout the neighborhood, some have suggested email newsletters or more frequent mailed newsletters. Please let us know which you prefer by attending one of our upcoming Board meetings. Your input and opinions matter to us. Remember, also, that the Gable's association has its own website at Information concerning upcoming meetings, special announcements, minutes and financials from our meetings, etc., are put there for your review. 
* Garage Doors:  Under the current rules & regulations, you are required to keep your garage doors closed. In addition to security concerns, if your garage door is left open in the winter, there is a potential that pipes will freeze. The association is not liable for any damage caused by leaving garage doors open so please keep them closed. 
* Renting Your Townhome:  Residents who lease their unit must notify our property manager. It is important that we make renters aware of the association's rules & regulations. Please also keep in mind that property owners are 100% responsible for any and all damage renters do to the property. We have experienced problems in the past regarding this and your help is appreciated. 
* Resident Participation:  Participation at our board meetings is very low. Unfortunately, we need your input and opinions to make sure the association performs up to your expectations. Please take time to attend a future board meeting this year. 
All in all, it has been an interesting year. I know from talking to many of you that you love living here as much as we do. While we are greatly concerned about the financial condition of the Master Association, we are heartened by the solid condition of the Gables Association. We believe in due time the concerns with the Master Association will be sorted out and that Victor Gardens will remain a wonderful place to live. As a personal note, due to increased workload and the potential for more travel in 2008, I informed the Board earlier this year that I will no longer be able to serve as the association's President when my term comes up for renewal in December. While I'm happy to serve on the Board in a diminished capacity, I believe it is time for new leadership for the association. Fortunately, your association has many Board members who are capable, dedicated, and determined to continue all of our efforts in making this a truly wonderful place to live. 
Most sincerely, 
Charles E. Kirk