The Canyon Creek HOA submitted a membership application to officially join 2222 Coalition Of Neighborhood Associations (better known as 2222 CONA) in January 2021 and the 2222 CONA board approved our membership application on Jan 21, 2021, making our neighborhood the 8th neighborhood in NW Austin to join the 2222 CONA organization. Canyon Creek HOA director, Randy Lawson, was appointed as the representative from the Canyon Creek neighborhood on the 2222 CONA board of directors.
We will now join the other seven 2222 CONA neighborhoods located in NW Austin which will give us an increased voice on issues in Austin potentially affecting our neighborhoods such as governmental outreach, environment, traffic and traffic safety, City of Austin Land Development Code, area development zoning/rezoning/permitting, wildfire mitigation, etc. See more info below on the 2222 CONA organization.
The 2222 Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, Inc. (better known as 2222 CONA) was incorporated as a Texas non-profit in December 2005 and has Federal non-profit status under IRS 501 (c) (3). It is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes. 2222 CONA is led by a Board of Directors, with each Director appointed by their corresponding member neighborhood association, acting according to adopted By-Laws.
2222 CONA Member Neighborhoods:
The current member neighborhoods of this coalition represent approximately 4,500 households and includes Canyon Creek, Glenlake, Jester Estates, Long Canyon Phase I, Long Canyon Phase II & III, River Place, Shepard Mountain, and Westminster Glen Estates. Here are links to the websites of member CONA neighborhoods that maintain individual sites:
With the 3rd quarter of 2020 behind us, I wanted to give an update on several items that may be of interest to Members.
Vikram Shah, one of our newly elected directors from this year’s Annual Meeting has had to resign from the board due to unforeseen work commitments. We wish him well but this is disappointing news as Vikram was shaping up to be a valuable asset to the community. Hopefully he will be willing and able to serve at some point in the future. In the meantime, the Association’s Governing Documents empower the remaining board members to fill the open seat so there will be a fresh call for candidates going out and we’ll be reaching out to the other candidates from this year’s meeting to gauge interest and try to set up some interviews.
You may have noticed that the pace of repairs and maintenance has slowed considerably in recent months. We made the decision to cut back on our planned capital spending while we waited to see what impact COVID-19 would have on our cash position. Thus far, it appears that Member delinquency is only slightly higher than usual so we plan to gradually resume our planned maintenance and repair spending. If your household’s finances have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and you are unable to stay current with your HOA assessments, please reach out to Spectrum to work out a payment plan. This will allow you to avoid expenses related to collection on a delinquent account.
The last major project for this year is to rebuild the dumpster enclosure located in the community center parking lot. This project is currently out for bid and we are not expecting it to impact the use of any amenities at the community center complex. The basketball court remains closed due to coronavirus restrictions and we have identified a handful of repairs to the gate and fencing that we would like to undertake at some point but this may get pushed to next year. The tennis courts were resurfaced the week of July 20 following the installation of a retaining wall to address erosion and washout issues that were degrading the court surface sooner than expected and we hope our tennis players are enjoying the refreshed surface The pool will be closing for the season on October 31 and we want to thank everyone for cooperating with us on complying with the various and changing restrictions we were forced to implement due to the pandemic. We also want to especially thank our lifeguards this year, many of whom are from within the neighborhood. We do appreciate you all.
The Board did conclude its 2021 budget planning and adopted the new budget at the September meeting. In terms of direct operating expense, it looks very similar to the 2020 budget with a couple of exceptions. We did achieve a significant reduction in our property and casualty insurance premiums by switching carriers and in recent years, have placed a high priority on aggressive management and repair and maintenance of our irrigation system. This has resulted in big reductions in our water expense to the point that we are comfortable reducing the budgeted amount by about $10,000 heading into 2021. The big capital expenses for next year were identified by the independent reserve study and are primarily focused on some much needed repair and renovation around the pool including coping, tile, deck repairs and repairs to the plaster. In addition, we’re continuing to invest in overdue maintenance and upkeep of our landscaping, beds, trees, sod and hardscape including the concrete fence along Boulder Lane. The board welcomes input from Members at any time on other spending priorities which we may not have considered.
Our two primary management targets are: 1) an 80% or better operating expense ratio; and 2) capital expenses and reserve balances driven by the independent, triennial reserve study. With the series of assessment increases these last few years, we finally hit our target OpEx ratio of just under 80%. This has put us in a position to scale back assessment increases to a level in line with our annual 1.5 – 2% operating expense increases. I discussed this at the annual meeting and the feedback from members present was that having to remember to update auto-pay balances annually would be a source of error and likely lead to many unintended delinquencies and late fee expenses. In recognition of this, the board has elected to apply an approximately 8% increase to the annual assessment, bringing it to $526 annually. With this increase, we are aiming to avoid further increases until the 2024 timeframe assuming current trends hold and nothing dramatic affects our ongoing operations.
Finally, allow me to recognize a few individuals for their service to the community. First up is Sohum Sharma, shown here, who, as part of his Eagle Scout project, has done a very nice job constructing a new Gaga Ball pit at the community center. We are certainly grateful for his efforts and look forward to being able to use it when covid restrictions are lifted and this is possible. Congratulations to you, Mr. Sharma on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout!
Next up is current HOA member of the Board and licensed electrician, Mark Weaver, who, this year, has donated countless hours and literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of electrical work personally repairing and installing numerous security cameras, LED fixtures, wiring, conduit, breakers and all manner of gadgets; going so far as to even rent a scissor lift to replace a handful of lights at the pool parking lot with energy efficient LED lighting. Mark, thank you so much for your time and talent donated for our benefit – we appreciate you!
The Canyon Creek Traffic and Pedestrian Safety (TAPS) Committee completed a survey of city sidewalks that includes sidewalk issues reported by our community residents. This survey resulted in the documentation of 80 significant city sidewalk safety issues with sidewalk mismatches noted up to 4.5 inches. The survey found significant sidewalk issues on 26 different streets in our community. A list of these documented mismatches was submitted to the City of Austin in late 2019. Based on our request, a city crew repaired (considered “temporary repairs”) most of these noted sidewalk mismatches in May 2020. Our goal is to make the use of our neighborhood city sidewalks safe for all pedestrians and to offer a safe alternative to jogging on our city streets, which is not only unsafe but also illegal when a sidewalk is available. We will continue to work with City of Austin staff to further improve our city sidewalks.
The CC HOA board is continuing to utilize off-duty Travis County deputy constables to patrol our neighborhood streets to promote awareness that traffic and pedestrian safety is a high priority in our community. These paid deputy constable patrols are in addition to non-paid patrols by other law enforcement agencies such as APD and Travis County Sheriff’s Department. These patrols are performed at random times every week and have resulted in many citations for traffic violations, primarily speeding. The purpose of these citations is for traffic calming and safer, more cognizant drivers, not monetary punishment.
Austin City Council passed a new speed limit ordinance (# 20200611-045) that was signed by Mayor Steve Adler on June 11, 2020. The new ordinance restricts speed limits on all Austin neighborhood streets to 25 mph max after posting of new speed signs unless a different speed limit is determined by the City of Austin Traffic Engineer. The only basic exception is for larger neighborhood streets and major arterials such as Boulder Lane. New speed limit signs will be placed on hundreds of Austin neighborhood streets starting early next year, but central Austin will get priority on installation of the new speed limit signs. We will advise our residents when we get updated info on when CC may get new speed limit signs.
After reviewing the most recent data from the two radar speed units installed on Boulder, the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee finds a couple of stand-out issues. The first is that during the period January 01, 2020 through July 20, 2020 there were 7 vehicles on north Boulder that were recorded traveling between 70 mph and 99 mph. There were an additional 9 vehicles on south Boulder recorded traveling between 70 and 90 mph. This is reckless driving and totally unacceptable behavior! Hopefully most of these egregious speeders are not residents of Canyon Creek. The second observation is that the average number of vehicles recorded traveling daily on Boulder Lane dropped around 40% in mid-March through July 20, 2020 due to Covid-19 related increase in work-from-home and virtual learning. We will continue to monitor this radar speed unit data as it is made available to us from the Austin Transportation Dept.
We have some good news to report! City council member Jimmy Flannigan’s D6 office has awarded funding to our Canyon Creek neighborhood on two different City of Austin mobility/safety fund projects (note: no expenditure or matching funds required by our HOA). Canyon Creek applied for this funding money from this special program, which is called the ¼ Cent Program (city ¼ cent sales tax for mobility improvements), to be used for local neighborhoods. One of the projects is for an additional radar speed unit (“DSDD”) to be installed for traffic calming on Chestnut Ridge Rd in the early December 2020 timeframe (see pic below). The specific location for this radar speed unit is under review. The second project award is for painted white “curb extensions” at the Boulder/Ember Glen intersection (pic of typical curb extensions is shown below) in front of the Canyon Creek Elementary School. We believe these painted curb extensions will offer a visual signal to drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians at the school crossings before stopping at the posted stop sign. This project should be complete by November 2020.
Respect the right-of-way of pedestrians in our neighborhood – Note: it is state law that vehicles must yield the right of way to pedestrians standing at the entrance of or in crosswalks. To yield, vehicles must come to a complete stop and wait while pedestrians enter, cross and exit the crosswalk.
Drive within the posted speed limits for safety (trying to save a few extra seconds by speeding is not safe or smart and it can cost you a lot of money). Note speed limits are set based on ideal driving conditions so wet roads, heavy traffic or pedestrian presence warrants reducing speed below the posted limit.
If you see someone driving recklessly or if you experience “road rage”, call 911 immediately and report as many details of the reckless driving as possible such as the nature of the event, license plate number, make/model/color of vehicle, location, driver description, etc. Please do not chase or confront the driver.
The next HOA Board Meeting is set for Monday, Sept. 16 at the Church at Canyon Creek in an upstairs room of the main church building called the “Cross Room”. At this meeting the Board will consider and adopt the operating and capital budget for 2020. Before this meeting, I wanted to give an update on where we are, where we’ve come from and where we plan to go over the next couple of years.
As many of you know, 2019 is the first year since 2004 that the Association has raised its annual regular assessment. Most of the Association’s contracted expenses (landscaping, management fees, pool service, lifeguards, custodial, pest control, etc.) increase by about 3-5% annually. Some expenses, such as insurance, increase even more than that annually. In the intervening 15 years, the Association’s direct operating costs regularly increased without a corresponding increase in assessments to keep up. I spoke at length on this subject at the 2018 annual meeting and wrote up a summary that you can read here.
The draft budget for 2020’s direct operating costs is currently $488,451. The majority of these costs are non-discretionary expenses covering the direct care and management of the property. Our discretionary operating expenses center around the budget for our annual community events such as the spring egg hunt, fall and winter festivals, back to school pool party and the recently added movie night at the pool. The proposed budget for all community events is currently just over $12,000, or a bit over $9 per household.
In cash flowing commercial real-estate, one metric for analyzing a property is the Operating Expense Ratio (OER). In simple terms, this number is just the direct operating costs divided by gross revenue. A lower number is better and you typically want to see this in the 60-80% range which means that 20-40% of a property’s income is allocable to paying investors a return and for the reserve fund. Since the Association does not have investors to whom it must pay a return, I’ve internally set our target to the high end of that range at 80%. This means that 20% of our gross assessment income is allocated for reserves and capital projects. By comparison, 2018’s budgeted OER was 85%, a little too high for comfort. (And, in fact, the actual number is almost always higher due to unforeseen repairs and expenses that weren’t originally budgeted.) To gain insight into our expected capital expenses, the Association commissions a reserve study every 3 years to identify our needs out for the next 30 years along with the recommended annual contribution to reserves and the target balance of the reserve fund along the way. The reserve study only considers the “hard” assets of the Association and doesn’t include costs for major restoration or maintenance projects for landscaping, beds, sod, tree maintenance, etc. It should therefore be viewed as the most conservative assessment of our financial needs if the Board takes on no other projects. The reserve study, along with other projects the Board prioritizes drives the total capital expense budget.
For 2020, the reserve study calls for patch, seal and striping of the CCHOA pool/courts parking lot at an estimated $9500 (in round numbers) and another $18K in repairs to the concrete pool deck. Since there are additional repairs and maintenance to the pool identified for 2021, the draft budget I’m proposing defers the $18K deck expense to 2021 so that we can address all of these elements at once in a holistic way. In addition, the Board is prioritizing $70,000 in landscape improvements along Boulder Lane to address unsightly erosion, bare dirt, beds, tree wells and other hardscape that has fallen into disrepair. We’re also allocating $25,000 to address concerns from a number of HOA members on safety and security, make some long needed electrical repairs and a small handful of other items. Looking ahead, we have a lengthy list of deferred maintenance, upkeep and appearance projects that we are playing catch up with including the aforementioned maintenance and repairs to the pool concrete deck and tile, correcting erosion and drainage problems at the tennis courts, ongoing restoration of beds, sod and landscaping along Boulder Lane, addressing erosion and muddy washouts on our sidewalks among other things. We are prioritizing these items ahead of other long awaited projects such a new landscaping installation to the south entrance medians and installation of a shade canopy for the baby pool.
If we ignore for a moment the 3-5% annual increases in many of our actual direct operating costs and instead take the U.S. Department of Commerce’s average 2% annual inflation rate since 2004, then our regular assessments, simply pacing the inflation rate, should be at $549 per household; and if we consider 2.5% a conservative rate that blends all of our annual operating cost increases, then the regular assessment would be just shy of $600 each year. Taking all of the above into account, for 2020, we are targeting a 10% bump in the regular assessment, going from $440 to $484 ($3.66 per month per house). This gives us an operating expense ratio of 78% (slightly better than target) and with the capital expenses outlined above, leaves a net increase to our reserve fund of $32,443 as we exit 2020. As we address many of these deferred projects, I do expect our operating costs to increase somewhat as we pay more attention to maintaining these elements going forward. That said, managing our costs while properly running the Association and maintaining our Amenities and common areas has been and will continue to be a priority for all board members.
There will definitely be a few minor tweaks to these numbers as some final quotes come in late for our insurance renewals, and from other vendors but I am not expecting any material swings at this point. Please consider attending the meeting if you can.
The results of the traffic survey we conducted recently are presented at the link below, along with some actions we are taking to calm traffic going forward. Thank you to the residents who participated. The HOA board reviewed these recommendation at the January 8th meeting.
• Respect the right-of-way of pedestrians throughout the entire neighborhood.
• Slow when approaching crosswalks and school zones and always look for pedestrians.
• Remember, there are children playing and walking throughout Canyon Creek.
• The speed limit along sections of Boulder, is 35 mph. At 35 mph, it takes 136 feet to come to a complete stop. There is a 50% chance of a severe injury if a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle at 31 mph, and there is a 25% chance of a fatal injury if a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle at 32 mph. So, drive carefully.
• It’s not cool to speed through a neighborhood, especially one which has children walking to school, going to bus stops, and biking to the parks. Drive cool, not fast.
• Set an example for the student drivers and others driving through the community. Drive at or below the speed limit and always yield to pedestrians.
• If you’re a parent of a student driver, remind them to drive responsibly.
• The best “power trip” is a fast jog or walk through the neighborhood, it’s not speeding or tailgating other drivers to pressure them to speed up.
• If you see someone driving recklessly or you experience road rage, call 911.
• Let’s work together to keep Canyon Creek safe and pedestrian friendly!
• Remember, we’re all in this neighborhood together. Be neighborly.
This document presents an outline of the Q2 CCHOA meeting held on May 14 2018 and gives an important update on the bathhouse renovation. The first half of the meeting covered topics such as Firewise clean up, Spectrum Management’s report, violation notices, Traffic safety and control. The later half of the meeting the Board presented a new option, named “Option 2.5”, to the bathhouse renovation project. Residents can read the details about this option, along with the budget breakdown, reserve breakdown, and renovation timeline starting at page 27 of the PDF document. Please send your comments, suggestions, and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org regarding the information in this PDF document.
At the Canyon Creek regular HOA board meeting on last Monday evening (May 14), a limited amount of time was devoted to discussing the planned new retail/office complex that will be located on the west side of FM 620, located essentially between the existing CVS at 620/2222 and the Home Depot near Vista Parke Dr. As previously reported, while this will bring some desirable new retail and other services to our community, this will have a significant potential impact on traffic congestion and traffic safety when completed. The HOA is carefully monitoring this planned development and has been in several meetings to date with both the developer rep’s as well as City of Austin staff. The developer has made a very significant concession at our request. Namely, that only right-in/right-out turns will be allowed into the three shopping center driveways planned to face FM 620. This will prevent left turns against oncoming traffic that will cause mayhem at peak traffic periods.
The following is a quick update on what is currently being planned for this retail/office center:
-Staybridge Suites (3-story hotel) -Discount Tire Center -CleanFreak car wash -Playhouse Pre-School -An unidentified bank -An unidentified restaurant (3750 sq. ft.) -Chick-Fil-A -Starbucks -Panda Express -A four building retail office complex (approx. 100k sq. ft.) -Various smaller retail shops
This development site plan is expected to be resubmitted to the city planners by mid-June 2018 with construction anticipated to start in 2019 after receiving city approvals. We will post future updates to the community on this development as newsworthy events take place.
Thank You to the 24 Canyon Creek volunteers (Tony and Logan Booth, Robert Canik, Glen “Tex” Chalemin, Shaohui Chen, John Conners, Sid Edwards, Zuojiaig Vincint Fan, Lauri and Frank Fischer, Brett Funderburg, Helen Gu, Eric Guthrie, ML & Russ Jakala, Randy Lawson, Gladys Poorte, Richard Rutner, Michele and Noel Sandlin, Sashi & Roshan Mara, Cheng Wooster) that helped with Greenbelt / Firewise cleanup this weekend. Amazing work!